Social Checking Services are Watching You

August 5, 2011

 

The work place and technology keep changing. It used to be easy to get a job. You fill out an application, do an interview and you either get hired or not. Simple. Now most corporations have you apply online that takes close to an hour to fill out. They require 2 phone interviews before an in person interview. Then background checks and drug tests. A lot of prospective employers even google your name to see what they can find out about your activity on the internet. Personally I’ve wondered if this has been a reason I didn’t get a response on many job application in the past 5 years or so.

 

The past few years some companies hire “social checking” services to go beyond the general google or any other search engine findings. A recent study by the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) shows that 50% of employers are taking advantage of the new services up from 34% in 2008 and 20% are planning on using the services. These “social checking” companies specialize in watching and reporting applicant’s activities on social networks like facebook, Twitter, Myspace, etc. looking at everything from blogs to photo albums.

 

It’s entirely legal and complies with the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Some question whether it is invasive of individual’s privacy come up but it seems pretty cut and dry. Most of us know by now that what we make public on the internet is open for anyone to see if we don’t make it private. Even if a person makes it entirely private there are ways around it.

 

The question of reliability of the information gathered because people present what they want to say about themselves and try to give the best not necessarily the most honest version of themselves on the social networking sites.

 

Personally I’ve been aware that what I post and say and do onine can be seen by everyone. Some of my sites, blogs, pictures, statements etc are definitely a bit risqué and even pornographic at times. I’ve accepted this fact as an artist and writer. I am willing to put myself out there to be true to myself. My art and writing has never been mainstream and I have nothing to hide. It’s more important than hiding everything to please others including prospective employers.

 

I know a lot of people that won’t have anything to do with me online due to the nature of their careers. They keep everything private and hide out only connecting with their closest of friends and family members.

 

If I’m ever hiring I might use a service but I’ll be looking for honest people not the ones that seem “normal”. I feel bad for the people that don’t think about it and have pictures of their parties and drinking and wild side that a social checking service finds and may ruin their chance of a career that they wanted.

 

Then again is the real you the person that sits in front of an employer for an interview or the “you” you project online? Either way there’s some kind of deception and some honesty.

 

For me, I am just going to keep doing what I do. Post what’s on my mind. Or maybe start my own service. Hmmmm.


Facebook Status Frees a Man from Prison

May 3, 2011

I have a facebook addiction. I hate it sometimes. I also have a lot of complaints about facebook as most of you know. I hate the censorship most of all. I’ve had so many pictures deleted without notice or explanation. So, as most of you know I created my own social network called Novaboon. It’s unrestricted and open for everyone to post almost anything. Facebook does have some good points and bad depending which side you are on.

Through the years we’ve all read or heard horror stories about MySpace and facebook leading to stalking, rape, and even murder. These horrible situations have resulted in the ease in which information availability and the freedom for predators to give misinformation to commit these terrible crimes.

In the past few years, online blogs, status updates, emails and anything said online can be used as evidence in the court of law. This has mostly worked against people but not always. It can also be used to help people. Here’s a recent story to demonstrate this.

A 19-year old named Rodney Bradford spent almost 2 weeks in jail at Riker’s Island, New York City the end of last year. He was accused of a participant of a 2-man gun point mugging in Brooklyn.

He happened to be facing a robbery indictment from 2008 and he heard that the police were looking for him so he turned himself in confident he would be cleared because he was in Harlem at his father’s house the time of the mugging. He was wrong at first when one of the 2 victims picked Rodney out of a line up. He was charged with robbery in the 1st degree.

It turned out that Rodney had a solid alibi; his facebook status update. The time and location of his update proved that he could not have been at the scene of the robber when it occurred.

What was amazing is how cooperative facebook was with releasing all details of the update: time, location etc. when subpoenaed for the information.

Facebook officials said they are “pleased they were able to serve as a constructive part of the judicial process.”

“We’re in a much more trackable world, and for better and for worse,” said attorney Jonathan Handel. “The extent to which it means that the right people get prosecuted and the innocent get their cases dropped, that’s all of the good.”

Mr Handel also mentioned that the issue of privacy is also at stake.

This story made me happy at first that facebook was helpful in freeing an innocent man. I read the lawyer’s mention of privacy and it made me concerned.

Facebook can take any information of any member at any time and use it for any purpose. Just by signing up we give them the right. It doesn’t matter how private a member makes his or her profile, facebook seems to own a member the minute he or she clicks “I read and accept the terms and conditions.”

Facebook owns you and me. Be careful what you post but then again keep posting because it might save your life.

Reference- cnn.com


Fed Up With Facebook? Me Too. Novaboon.com is where its at

November 11, 2010

Ok. I am totally fed up with facebook.com. I joined reluctantly years ago because my friends were all going over there and abandoned My Space. I loved MySpace as it was a few years ago. Easy to use. Band friendly. Although they had some restrictions on photo content and removed some photos without explanation it I was fairly ok with it. I also loved the blog features and had a following reading my blogs.

 

Facebook became addicting. All of my friends were on there and some family too. I felt a little restricted at first but eventually said fuck it and posted whatever. For a time I wanted to just have people I knew as friends but when I published my book and started my own blog site I wanted to promote my stuff and began adding friends like ad. This is when he problems started.

 

Facebook has since been on me about adding too many friends saying that I was a spammer and they want it to be a friends and family site. What if I want to make new friends? I did make new friends across the globe. I go on and off friend adding probation. Then I was on messaging probation for sending our my links to my blog and my books. I get messages all of the time from people promoting things. Then the photo removals started happening. I never could figure out what photo and they do not tell you.

 

This is the latest letter I received:

 

Hello,

 

You uploaded a profile picture that violates our Terms of Use, and this picture has been removed. Facebook does not allow photos that attack an individual or group, or that contain nudity, drug use, violence, or other violations of the Terms of Use. These policies are designed to ensure Facebook remains a safe, secure and trusted environment for all users, including the many children who use the site.

 

If you have any questions or concerns, you can visit our FAQ page at http://www.facebook.com/help/?topic=wphotos.

 

The Facebook Team

 

Ok great. I have hundreds of pics and yes I know I have some borderline photos bit no sexually graphic or violent or racist pics like they forbid. I tried to find out more with the link above and it says nothing. A lot of words but no explanations.

 

Here’s the help page info:

 

Help Center

 

Warning – Photos

 

What kinds of photos does Facebook remove?

Photos are removed if they contain nudity, drug use or other obscene c…

Photos are removed if they contain nudity, drug use or other obscene content. If the photo attacks another individual or group, it will be removed as well.

 

Can I see the removed content?

Unfortunately, for technical and security reasons, users cannot view t…

Unfortunately, for technical and security reasons, users cannot view the removed content.

 

Please go through your profile and make sure to take down any other offensive or objectionable material that violates our Terms of Use. For more information on conduct prohibited by Facebook, please read our ‘terms’ (linked to at the bottom of any page).

 

Does Facebook remove everything that gets reported?

Facebook reviews every report we receive to determine whether or not t…

Facebook reviews every report we receive to determine whether or not the content violates our Terms of Use. Any content that is considered obscene, violent, malicious or otherwise offensive will be removed. If you received a warning about an item that was taken down, then we have established that it violated these terms.

 

Was that helpful? No. This is has been an issue for over 6 months now. So I talked to my friend, now housemate, about starting a social network of our own. After business plan revisions, programming, researching and a lot of hard work, Seth Rosen and I launched NovaBoon – World’s Best Unrestricted Social Network on November 1st 2010 We waited a few days to invite people and we have been growing steadily since last Friday. http://novaboon.com

 

Our motto is “Escape from the social networking jail with Novaboon.”

 

We are looking for people fed up with the restrictions and harassments of the other sites and want a new place to do anything they want basically within legal limits. All are welcome. It might be too unrestricted for some and that’s fine. Were not trying to compete with facebook. We just want a place for people that are more expressive and want more freedom to go to.

 

To quote my partner, Seth Rosen “NovaBoon.com a place for facebook parolees and MySpace refugees.

 

Join now if you are even slightly fed up and not offended easily.

 

http://novaboon.com

 


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