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Separating who you are on social media from who you are at work might be impossible. No matter how hard you try, your digital footprint will always follow you around. Whether you’re a professional baseball player about to pitch in the All-Star game to an up-and-coming politician, those decade-old tweets (from when you didn’t have a better sense of judgment before pressing enter) can be resurfaced with a quick Twitter search that could potentially ruin your professional career.
Employees know that — that’s why nearly half of employees enable tools to hide certain digital material away from their current employers and future social media screenings, according to a new study.
JDP, a screening service website, recently surveyed more than 2,000 Americans to find out what employees are hiding and how far they are willing to go to protect their professional reputations from their shenanigans on social media. The study found that 82% of respondents have some sort of privacy setting set up on their social media network, with one in four having every platform set to private.
Half of the respondents felt that employers shouldn’t be allowed to look at candidates’ social media profiles when applying for a job, which has reverted job seekers to doing anything to keep their private lives, well private, with 40% admitting they have made an alias account on social media.
Users will do anything to keep their profiles hidden, but they are especially wary about employers finding their Facebook pages. Forty-five percent name the social media giant the platform they’d want to keep most hidden, according to the survey, while others felt the same about Twitter, Reddit, and Instagram. Facebook was the most common account where users have made an alias account (27%) with Twitter and Instagram both being popular.
As for what people are trying to hide, more than half confessed to shielding photos and videos away from employers. Fifty-one percent admitted to written material like embarrassing statues or risque comments and 47% said they tried hiding who they follow or what accounts they’ve liked. In general, nearly three in four said they try to keep their personal life hidden from their bosses while more than half (56%) reported shielding unprofessional behavior.
When it comes to services like JDP screening applicants, they admitted through the survey that LinkedIn is their No. 1 stop for posturing the most, followed by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.