On The Internet, If It Looks, Quacks and Walks Like a Duck, Is It *REALLY* a Duck?

I am a great believer of performing due diligence to ensure potential new hires have no deceptive or malicious skeletons in their past that may be reincarnated after they have been hired and entrusted with access to sensitive information and supporting resources. There are appropriate times organizations should do criminal background checks, education checks, and other checks as appropriate and legal for the position being filled and the location of the facility.

However, there should be care taken when making hiring and firing judgments based upon what is found on the Internet. Facebook, YouTube, personal web pages and blogs, and a vast number of other sites are now being routinely checked and used as a basis for making hiring decisions, and when looking for information about current employees.
What should you do if you find an unflattering or seemingly inappropriate photo of one of your employees on the Internet? Would it matter if it was posted by someone else? Would it matter if it was taken while the person was outside of the work environment? Would you fire him or her if it appeared it was inappropriate? Would you deny someone a college degree because of a silly photo? Would you not hire someone because of something bad that was said about the person by someone else?
Keep in mind photos can be doctored quite dramatically, and that gossip often spreads quickly on the Internet passing as fact.
I discuss the issues regarding the use and trustworthiness of online information about organizations and their employees in my monthly column I wrote for the June issue of the CSI Alert newsletter, “On The Internet, If It Looks, Quacks and Walks Like a Duck, Is It REALLY a Duck?
You can see my final, pre-production, draft at my site.
I welcome your feedback!

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