The Pitfalls of Social Media Background Checks: Why They Should Be Avoided

Background checks are crucial in the hiring process, but incorporating social media background checks can lead to complex legal consequences and compromise fair hiring practices. While tempting, it is strongly advised to avoid such checks.

Let’s explore the six key reasons why social media background checks should be avoided.

  1. Wrong Identity
    There are no guarantees that the social media account you find belongs to the candidate. Duplicate names and the prevalence of fake accounts make it easy to mistake someone else’s profile for the candidate’s, putting your company at risk.

  2. Misinformation
    Even if you find the correct profile, the information displayed may not be accurate. The internet is notorious for spreading false information, and social media accounts can be hacked, further increasing the risk of relying on unverified data.

  3. Hiring Criteria
    Protected characteristics like age, race, religion, and disability cannot be considered in the hiring process. However, social media posts often reveal such information, leading to biased decision-making and potential legal issues.

  4. Compliance
    Third-party social media screening services must comply with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Failure to do so can leave your organization liable. To avoid complications, it is best to steer clear of social media background checks.

  5. Laws
    Many states and localities have their own hiring laws related to social media vetting. Failure to disclose information used in the hiring decision or violating these laws can result in discrimination claims and inaccuracies in data.

  6. Judgment
    Social media background checks introduce the risk of unconscious bias. Personal opinions and subjective judgments can seep into the hiring process, undermining fairness. Organizations should strive to rely on verifiable facts rather than social media speculation.

Avoid risks with reliable screening

Social media background checks come with significant risks, including false identities, inaccurate information, restricted hiring criteria, compliance concerns, legal implications, and bias. To ensure an efficient, compliant, and fair hiring process, it is advisable to avoid social media checks altogether. Turn, a reliable background check provider, offers screening services that are efficient, compliant, and delivered promptly, ensuring peace of mind in the hiring process.

Schedule some time with our experts for a free consultation to review your current screening process.


Turn’s Blog does not provide legal advice, guidance, or counsel. Companies should consult their own legal counsel to address their compliance responsibilities under the FCRA and applicable state and local laws. Turn explicitly disclaims any warranties or assumes responsibility for damages associated with or arising out of the provided information.

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