Why Social Media is Getting Harder to Ignore

Let’s face it, social media isn’t going anywhere. Internet usage is on the rise. And social networks, like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have become a daily part of many people’s lives. 

As of 2020, the average daily social media usage worldwide amounted to 145 minutes per day

Since the pandemic started, internet use has increased among all age groups. Stuck at home, with movie theatres closed, public gatherings called off, and most restaurants only offering take-out, Americans have been spending more of their time in the online world. The majority are looking for ways to entertain themselves, while others are eager to connect with family, friends and peers on social media. 

Like it or not, social media isn’t going anywhere and it is becoming increasingly important. If you are in HR, background screening, insurance fraud or investigative services it’s time to start paying close attention. 

Why? Because what happens online doesn’t stay online. 

At Social Discovery Corp, we know how important social media intelligence is and believe that it should be a crucial part of any investigation whether you are screening applicants or investigating potential insurance fraud. 

Here’s why it’s important to keep social media top of mind: 

If you are a background screener

Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts are not simply text and images that live online – they are a direct extension of a person’s opinions and behavior in the physical world. 

What someone says and shares on social media can give you a good insight into their character, and it can uncover potentially inappropriate, threatening or dangerous behavior.

So should you be looking at your candidates’ online activities as part of the screening process? 

Let’s be honest, most recruiters and HR departments are already looking into applicants’ online activities. According to a survey conducted by SHRM, almost 70% of HR departments said that they check the applicants’ social media profiles before hiring them.  

Searching through a candidate’s publicly available records is not illegal and it’s not an invasion of privacy as long as it’s done in a way that is compliant and does not break any state privacy laws. 

As an employer, you have a responsibility to ensure your workplace is safe for all employees. This includes preventing any behavior that can be harmful, threatening or toxic to your staff. 

For many years now, criminal background checks have been a standard tool for screening potential hires. But criminal background checks are limited in what information they can provide. They can uncover past criminal activities, but that’s not all the information you need to make a good hiring decision. 

Social media can provide a wealth of information about a person’s character and give you insight into whether they could negatively affect your company’s reputation due to inappropriate behavior, such as drug use, hate speech or bullying. 

If you are a claims adjustor  

Insurance fraud has always been a big problem. It causes financial harm to the insurance companies, and at the same time, it affects the average consumer through increased insurance premiums.

There is never a shortage of people who will try to scam the system in the hopes of filling their pockets. While old fraud continues, there is new innovative fraud in the wake of COVID-19. 

According to some industry professionals, the number of claims with some element of fraud has nearly doubled since the pandemic started last March. The top pandemic fraud schemes include staged car accidents, billing scams, phantom services and fake accidents occurring at homes. 

The good news is that while insurance fraud has increased, so has the use of social media. If your job is investigating insurance fraud, this is good news for you. For example, if you can determine that a car accident claim has been issued from a so-called holiday destination, while an Instagram status update reveals that the claimant was at a local event, you have a powerful piece of evidence. 

The rise of new technologies such as GoPro opens new possibilities for obtaining evidence of fraudulent behavior. Footage captured by GoPro and similar technology that’s shared on social media profiles makes it possible to see what happened at the time of the accident. This can reveal that claimants were not at the locations they claimed to be in or that the claimed damage was not as severe as reported. 

Summary 

At Social Discovery Corp, we believe that social media research is important and should be part of every investigation. 

Unlike many of our competitors, we don’t leave social media screening to algorithms alone. Automated tools can provide indicators of inappropriate or suspicious content, but they cannot give you what matters the most – context.  

That’s why we have a trained team of experts whose job is to investigate and thoroughly check every report so you can rest assured you are receiving accurate social media intelligence – every time.