The imminent reformatting of Facebook looks set to further expose the private lives of its users.
The standard layout will be transformed into a timeline of events, a collated year by year account of user’s movements on Facebook since their birth, or Facebook sign-up date.
It has, understandably, caused a stir amongst employers and employees, because of the backlog of history now so readily available to browse and click.
In short, if nothing is tailored, made private or deleted, employers have immediate access to a potential candidate’s ‘social’ history – warts and all.
Guardian Jobs acknowledges it is an interesting issue and a subject of great debate. It raises questions around the relationship between employers, jobs, candidates and networking sites whether professional or social.
Social sites offer their users a powerful connection tools, based on interest, or personal data matching like where users live, or like to shop. But the line between social networking and socialising can be a thin one.
While Facebook has arguably moved things forward within the recruitment process – opening doors of networking and opportunities for many – it has also enabled employers to shut down potential candidates based on their online profiles – including photographs of people socialising.
Employers using Facebook & other social networks as a filter
In the UK 76% of all Facebook profile photos are of people in an inebriated state, the highest figure globally. And numerous surveys have shown that employers and recruiters use Facebook and other networking sites to filter and check the profile and background of potential candidates.
On one hand, this can work very well for the employee by showcasing an involved informed candidate able to discuss industry trends, and taking an interest perhaps in raising money for charity.
But the threat to a candidate’s privacy, ability to let off steam and have fun whilst not at work is also present, and we all need boundaries between work and play. Prospective employers will have – if settings remain public – access to Facebook footage in all its glory: whether drunk and vulgar abandonment or informed engaged professional.
Guardian Jobs advises users of social platforms whether social or professional to consider their online footprint. This means typing their name into a search engine and checking what comes up. They also advise that candidates may want to consider having professional accounts, and that they must check privacy settings.
Guardian Jobs’ Facebook page is full of news, articles and ideas to help candidates and professionals progress cyber careers. Knowing how to network without jeopardising reputation is a challenge but there is plenty of credible, free advice available to internet users.