Social Media Background Checks

Social media screening

Protect Your Brand. Protect Your People.

Social media screening is a way to add extra context to a candidate that a criminal records check or other background screening may not provide. Social media screening helps you mitigate the financial, safety and reputational risks of a bad hire and minimize the legal risk of bias.

Peace of Mind, The Right Way.

70% of hiring managers say they review social networking sites to research applicants as part of informal background screening, putting their companies at risk for compliance violations.

Is Social Media Screening Compliant?

When done correctly, yes.
Performing social media screening alongside a background check is a way to enhance your background screening and protect your company while minimizing the risk of legal bias that comes with manually analyzing candidate profiles yourself.

Done right:

  • You obtain written permission from the candidate to conduct social media screening
  • Only publicly available profiles and information is analyzed
  • Focuses on predetermined, job-relevant criteria

A Certn Social Media Background Check is fully compliant with all federal and state laws.

Why You Should Run A Social Media Background Check

Peace of Mind

You’re arming yourself with the right info to make a more informed hiring decision.

Of employers have found content that caused them not to hire candidates.

More Equitable Hiring

All candidates are screened by the same criteria — no matter what.

Of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates during hiring process.

One Less Thing on Your Plate

Save hours of scrolling networking sites and spend more time on what matters.

Of employers say they use search engines to conduct their research on potential job candidates.

What Is Social Media Screening?

Social media screening uses technology to scan a candidate’s public social media content, news items, and websites and flags potential risks. Combined with a human analysis these reports can give you a more complete picture of who you’re hiring when paired with a background check or other background screening.

How Does A Social Media Background Check Work?

  1. Analyze: AI reviews public social media posts, images, and videos on platforms (such as Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and TikTok) news items, and the web for potential risk factors.
  2. Customize your search: Categories such as Hate Speech, Insults and Bullying, Violent Images, Drug-Related Images, or other custom keywords can be programmed into searches.
  3. Report: Content is flagged in the report based on the pre-defined risk categories.

Built-In Compliance. Digestible Reports.

Certn delivers easy-to-read reports that include only the items that are flagged for risk.

You can define one or more risk categories including:

  • Hate Speech
  • Insults and Bullying
  • Narcotics
  • Obscene Language
  • Political Speech
  • Self-Harm
  • Sexual Impropriety

You can also customize job-relevant keywords and define the criteria.


Most background checks confirm that candidates have the employment history, education, and professional references they claim to have. More specifically, criminal records checks confirm whether someone has been charged or convicted of a crime. A social media background check is a separate type of background screening that also requires consent. Learn more about what background checks reveal.

If done compliantly, it’s legal for employers in the United States and parts of Canada (excluding Québec) to check public social media profiles and other public content. However, you open your company up to legal action if you take a do-it-yourself approach and make hiring decisions based on criteria that’s not relevant to the job. Certn’s background screening is Fair Credit Report Act (FCRA) compliant and searches for job-relevant risk categories like Hate Speech, Insults and Bullying, and Threats of Violence, flagging only the content that matches the pre-determined criteria.

A social media background check consists of analyzing a candidate’s social media and web presence.

No, only public information is searched during a social media background check.

After consent for background screening is given, Certn’s social media screening uses automated technology to scan and analyze a candidate’s public social media content, news items, and websites. Any flagged content is synthesized in an easy-to-read report so the employer only reviews content that matches pre-determined risk categories.

Combined with human analysis, any content flagged in the reports can give you the full picture of who you’re hiring.

Employers have to be careful about what information they access and how they use it. Done compliantly, only job-relevant risk criteria is searched. If public social media content is used in the decision not to hire a candidate, it has to be directly related to the candidate’s ability to effectively perform the job requirements otherwise you put your company at risk of legal action.

A compliant social media background check shows public content from job-relevant risk categories, which might include comments on Facebook that cite a specific racial slur or photos on Instagram that are flagged for violence. It doesn’t hack into, or scrape information from, private accounts.

There’s no time frame limit and publicly available content is searched as part of comprehensive social media screening. Though, Certn’s findings are mapped on a timeline to give you more context. This helps you evaluate and/or observe trends, because it might matter whether content is from five or 10 years ago.

If you’re still wondering how to do social media screening legally and compliant, book a demo to talk to one of our background screening experts.

Get started with social media background checks today