One of our core services is investigations which often involves looking at people’s social media feeds. On occasion, we are tasked to review an individual’s social media to assess what content is being posted. With social media, it’s easy to hide behind a screen and hit send without considering the consequences of our actions and the effect on our digital footprint. Although social media networks allow us to connect with like-minded people globally, comments or images posted could potentially harm your reputation later in life.
After conducting a social media review and reporting back to the client, they often ask us if we can conduct a social media ‘clean up’, and the answer is yes. However, often it is something the client can do themselves and something we should all be doing on a routine basis.
A social media clean-up may include anything from updating privacy settings to deleting questionable posts or comments. Small changes could prevent reputational damage or rejection during a job application process. View your posts through other people’s eyes: potential employers, family, friends, etc. and set yourself a standard for posting.
It’s worth remembering, once you’ve posted, blogged, texted, commented, hit record, or clicked a snapshot, it’s ‘out there’ – yes, we can clean up our social media but there is no guarantee it has been erased for good, as due to Cache files and screenshots nothing is ever fully deleted. There are several scraping websites that make copies of social media posts and if you are not aware of this then you can leave yourself open. Nobody can guarantee all posts will be ‘cleansed’ due to the way technology works; however, you can certainly review majority of your posts and photographs to ensure you lower the risk of any issues. Consider the following:
- Use privacy settings to restrict who can see your post
- Think before you post – avoid and resist posting anything inappropriate or anything that could be considered offensive or paint you in a negative light
- Posting angry or inappropriate comments in the heat of the moment can leave you with regrets. Give yourself a 24-hour cooling-off period before posting anything, if for some reason you are angry or upset. You may very well find that your viewpoint has changed once you’ve let an issue sit for 24 hours
- Conduct a routine review of your posts, we suggest at least every couple of weeks (set a diary reminder). If not reviewed for some time, make sure you ‘go way back’- as we’ve seen in recent high-profile cases ‘historic’ posts have come back to haunt people
- Review your historic posts and any comments you may have made – delete anything even borderline offensive, doesn’t represent you or is inappropriate
- Remove any identifying information (e.g. your location, contact info) from your posts
- Deactivate any old accounts – even if you don’t think you have any – google yourself! You might be surprised that you forgot you signed up for
Think carefully about anything you post on social media or release on the internet – always ere on the side of caution and if there is even a small percentage of doubt, sleep on it and reassess in the morning. Your social feeds might be the only real window someone has into your life. Try to make the message you’re putting out there positive and real.