Flagging ugly social media posts to help students get jobs

Many current college students have social media accounts from an early age, posting regularly on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook without fear of repercussions.

But puzzling posts with pornographic or pornographic party photos can annoy them when they start looking for a job. According to a 2020 survey by Harris Poll, a global market research and consulting firm, 71 percent of those who decide to hire in the United States agree that looking at social media profiles is an effective way to screen job applicants. Among employers who tested candidates using social media, 55 percent said they found content that rejected one of their applicants.

Now a new company called Filteri is partnering with the organization to help students clear their social media profiles before starting the job-search process. The filter uses artificial intelligence to scan and identify written posts and photos on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook that an employer may deem inappropriate or harmful.

Spencer Cheng, co-founder and CEO of Filtari, says the company’s AI identifies students’ social media scanning posts that fall into one of five categories that employers can use to harass potential employees: drug use and paraphernalia, sexually explicit material, Alcohol consumption, guns or other weapons, and inappropriate or toxic speech – including obscene as well as offensive or inflammatory language.

After the AI ​​scan, students are given a report flagging each problematic post. They can then decide whether to delete them or not. Cheng says the company is working to add TikTok to the scanning service soon.

By flagging potentially inappropriate posts – including old posts, users have forgotten that filtering increases a student’s chances of getting a job or internship, Cheng said.

“Honestly, this has become a real problem for students today, and when you are a student it is not very clear that the posts you are making at the moment can influence you to move forward,” Cheng said. “I want to cite an analogy. When you go to an interview, the last thing you want to do is have a bunch of stains on your clothes – you want to present yourself at your best. And so at the moment, a lot of students are walking around with stains on their social media Employers and HR leaders are reviewing their profiles and looking at them as an applicant. “

Since Filteri was officially launched last year, the company has analyzed posts from nearly one million users on social media, flagging about 80,000 so far. Cheng noted that Filter is the only social media filtering service that he is particularly aware of students. But other companies, including Scrubber, Brandsourself and Reduct, offer similar services.

The company is now working on creating partnerships that will allow higher education institutions to provide services to students for free. Some of these partnerships will be announced next month, Cheng said.

In a pilot partnership with Southern University and A&M College, a historically black university that is part of the Louisiana Southern University system, Filteri has worked with the Office of Career Services to provide a screening platform for seniors who graduated this past spring.

To generate interest, Filterri and Southern University and A&M College created a raffle with a পুরস্কার 1,000 cash prize to encourage seniors to use the service, which was advertised at the start of the university rehearsal. About 50 graduate students participated, Cheng said.

“We’ve seen the raffle work, honestly, quite surprisingly,” Cheng said. “Everyone signed up and was excited not only to win the award but also to hear that we are providing such a service to the students.”

Alfred Harrell, CEO of the Southern University Systems Foundation, which oversees five campuses, including Southern University and A&M College in Louisiana, said graduate seniors have responded positively to the filter, with some saying it has helped them get jobs.

“We thought the filter would be really clean to help our students sanitize their social media accounts,” Harrell said. “And the pilot went really well and got a lot of good reviews from the students. We had some faculty. [about the service] And if they think the program is something we should invest deeper. “

Based on student and faculty comments, Southern University and A&M College are expanding the use of the filter to all graduates, faculty and staff from undergraduate seniors starting this coming fall semester, Harrell said. The service gives users a second chance at what they’re posting online and how outsiders might view those posts as offensive or inappropriate, he said.

“Most of us don’t know what an offensive post can be,” Harrell said. “We just assume that what we are posting is good and we don’t know how others can understand it. And so what we hope to do, for our students and for both our faculty and staff, is to help them become better communicators and be a little more considerate of the views and opinions of others. ”

The red flags

Christine Cruzvargara, chief education strategy officer at Handshake, a popular career service platform for students, says social media can be a double-edged sword, especially for young people.

“Nowadays employers know and acknowledge that people will be on LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram,” Cruzvargara said. “These are the ways you can actually build your brand. But in the same light, it’s a way for someone to make assumptions or opinions about you before they meet. And so how you want to portray yourself and what your brand is online is incredibly important to our students. ”

Cruzvargara says employers look for a lack of common sense in the red flag, which is displayed by posting lots of pornography. He said employers look at candidates ’social media feeds to understand not only who they are but also how they can represent the company.

“A [swear] The word is unlikely to make much difference here or there. Each of us must have our moment, but if it is a very consistent way to show off online or on social media, it can send a very different message to an employer about who you are and how you tell them. About the organization or their organization you can represent. “

Over the past 10 years, it has become the norm for employers to check the social media accounts of potential candidates, Cruzvargara said. That’s why he thinks it’s a good idea for students to use a service like Filter to make sure they don’t forget any posts they’ve made in the past.

“Of course for a student it doesn’t hurt to have a different perspective on the content they put there … and how it can feel,” Cruzvargara said. “And for you, as a student, you have a choice about whether or not you want to perceive it that way. So I think it’s great that a student will basically have the option of having an extra eye.”

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