Social Networking, Hiring, and Invasion of Privacy

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Social media should not be allowed as a method for making hiring decisions because it fosters discrimination, can be inaccurate and is unethical. Social media can foster bias such as gender, religious bias, and sexual orientation bias. It can create a negative light on the potential employer by portraying them as having a bad lifestyle, using inappropriate language, or an overly active lifestyle full of vacationing. Most importantly I will show the legalities of invading a potential employee’s privacy. Invasion of privacy is an abuse of power, used to harass and banter employees, and should not be used as evidence against an employee.

Social Media Hiring and Firing

The existence of gender bias, no matter how small should be cause for concern in the workplace. Human resources professionals should exhibit zero tolerance for discrimination in the workplace based on gender. Social media is a powerful platform to determine gender bias and unfortunately can be easily used to discriminate based on gender. For example, if the company supervisor decides he doesn’t want to work with a female, a simple Facebook search could pull up that potential employees’ personal information. Facebook includes a picture and the gender of that person. At that point the supervisor could just move on to the next person without even looking at their qualifications and skill set.

Religious bias has also been increasing in frequency in the last few years. Since the 2011 terror attacks, a steady rise has occurred in religious bias. The most affected religion is the Muslim faith with a 67% increase in religious bias (Williams, 2014). Other religions have faced discrimination as well. As previously stated, the social media site Facebook also provides religious preference. If the supervisor is an atheist and has a dislike for Catholics, the supervisor can narrow down his search based on religion.

Employers often screen for the presence of sexual orientation. Sexual orientation bias is screening for the presence of a preferred partner. A supervisor may only want to work with other straight employees. Some organizations may have a preference between a straight individual, homosexual, transgender, etc. Social media such as Facebook, ask if you are interested in men or women and lists relationship type. This is often used to determine sexual orientation.

Social Media Can Be Inaccurate

Social media often gives people a sense of personal security. People forget that a lot of social media activity is not always private, and at times heavily monitored. Social media can show a pattern of inappropriate language. Unfortunately, if foul language is used at the time of the screening process, potential employers may pass over potential employees based on their inappropriate use of language.

Social Media can also portray a bad lifestyle. People often take pictures of themselves at parties, bars, and having drinks with friends. When potential employers screen for employees this behavior can be detrimental to the hiring process.

Employers that are hoping for a dedicated employee that rarely takes vacations may be screening social media for habitual travel. If the presence of travel is all over the applicant’s social media page, they may be passed over for an applicant’s social media page that portrays a less active lifestyle.

Social Media is Unethical

Employers must be careful about obtaining information from social media because they can be sued for it. When employers garner information that is not provided to them and they use that information in their decision making that is an abuse of power and is illegal in nature. A perfect example of this would be the bias that I used above. Discrimination based on gender, religion, and sexual orientation if proven could be grounds for legal recourse.

Social media can also give way to harassment. If the employee is employed with a company and the supervisor decides to gossip to his colleagues about an employees drinking habits and foul use of language from social media and other employees decide to start giving the new employee a hard time or harass him that can also be grounds for legal recourse. An employee’s social media life should be talked about in the work place.

Failing to preserve evidence in the workplace is a common problem that most supervisors are unaware of. If a workplace issue arises on social media those posts are relevant evidence. As soon as the employer has any anticipation that there could be litigation and that social media evidence may be relevant the employer must preserve it. This causes issues with invasion of privacy and can cause legal issues as such matters of privacy are now being taken to trial.


Social media is an excellent platform for friendships, social engagements, family, and to share your life with others. Social media has also become a place where people are being screened by employers for hiring, proper protocol, and firing decisions. A place that was once deemed to be personal is now a screening tool. While effective it has also made people the target of social media bias. Social media bias can include gender, religious, and sexual orientation. Social media can also portray someone in an inaccurate way. If the use of foul language is used, a party is attended, or vacations are taken frequently, perception comes into play and can sway decision making and people can be overlooked or passed over for jobs or fired based on their social media activities.

The minute social media activity is viewed legal ramifications can or may occur. Evidence must be collected and saved in the employees file and may or may not be used by the company or the employee in the case that harassment or bias has been detected. Standards for companies should be put into place and in writing stating social media is a personal and private place for people to be themselves. Only hiring websites such as LinkedIn should be used in the screening process for potential employment. This keeps out a lot of the unnecessary bias, harassment, and cuts down on the likelihood of legal issues that could arise by viewing others private information.


Cite this paper

Social Networking, Hiring, and Invasion of Privacy. (2020, Nov 27). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/social-networking-hiring-and-invasion-of-privacy/

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