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Business Talks: Social Media (Part 2)

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According to statistics compiled in an article by Pam Greenberg, a 2012 Jobvite survey compiled the following information (information stated using Facebook as the focus point):

  • “52% of job seekers to Facebook to help find work…”
  • “15% of Facebook users modified privacy settings with work in mind…”, and
  • “17% of Facebook users…provided their profile on a job application or during an interview.”

If work-related endeavours and social media usage are so heavily integrated, then these numbers will undoubtedly rise and so will the need for more protection and constant review, as the law must continue to evolve with these changing social, financial and psychological trends. A clear example of this is what we see happening now, as it relates to the current Covid-19 pandemic. Essential workers are expected to be the only personnel on the road in many countries at this time, and non-essentials (basically everyone else not directly involved with those affected by the virus) have to work from home. If you already were, then there wouldn’t be much difference, except that you now couldn’t leave home as often as you liked. If you weren’t then you’re probably looking for an online job right now. I definitely was!

Greenberg provides more evidence of this, stating that “A CareerBuilder survey of 2,100 hiring managers in 2013 found that 39 percent of employers used social networking sites to research job applicants, and 43 percent reportedly found information that caused them not to hire a candidate”. With this tremendous shift in data privacy and owning information, the legal framework required to support this growing phenomena is becoming increasingly urgent and necessary, in order to provide fair justice and create an appropriate environment for employability.

“Social Media Users’ Legal Consciousness About Privacy”, a study published on February 1, 2017, summarizes the researcher’s findings after conducting various focus group studies and interviews with random participants in the wake of findings and developments that occurred after the events surrounding individuals such as Edward Snowden and Julian Assange. They state that “ …In the “Post-Snowden” era…users’ concept of privacy is a negative concept, informed by their lack of confidence and trust that social media companies and third-parties will keep their personal data private and secure and that the state will protect their rights. However, they also demonstrate a sophisticated definitional approach to privacy built around a sense of autonomy (physical, informational, decisional) and control over degrees of publicness of critical interiority. ” In other terms, even though the researchers found that ignorance and lack of awareness created negative ideas about how safe one’s data and privacy is on the internet, social media users were still able to agree on a set of protocols that were decidedly common protective procedures that were generally used in an effort to ensure that this protection was at least prepared for or internally chosen.

There is a growing need for protection and adequate privacy. Belief and trust in the laws set to preside over social media (and wider internet) usage have led those in the legal body to a responsibility that they must uphold. As much as the average social media consumer has the right and responsibility to post and share with wisdom, the companies that share this information must also be held accountable. In this way, fair and ardent legality ensures compliance and protection for all.

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