Social Media Sites Pose Unique Challenges For Gun Owners

Social MediaEarly in May, the Federal Trade Commission’s Division of  Privacy and Identity Protection, which is tasked with overseeing issues related to consumer privacy, credit reporting, identity theft, and information security, completed an investigation into the business practices of California based Social Intelligence Corporation.

Social Intelligence Corporation bills itself as offering a service that ‘lets employers and hiring professionals reap the benefits of using social media in making hiring decisions, without the legal risks.‘  It does this by scouring social media sites, searching for information on applicants and then removing all legally impermissible information such as race, religion, national origin, age, sex, familial status, sexual orientation, and disability status.

Of particular concern to gun owners, hunters and shooting sports aficionados however, is the fact that reportedly, any posted pictures containing firearms will flag an applicant as ‘Demonstrating potentially violent behavior’ as illustrated in the actual redacted report below that was released to Kashmir Hill at Forbes.

Social Intelligence ReportWhile Social Intelligence Corporation hurries to assure consumers that they only report on ‘criteria that is legally allowable in the hiring process’, gun owners should be concerned that simply having a picture of a oneself with a firearm would be enough to cost an applicant that dream job.

Even though the Federal Trade Commission has ruled that Social Intelligence Corporation is not in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act, this company has not seen the end of the controversy surrounding their service.  Given the damaging conclusions being drawn about an applicant based upon personal pictures, it is only a matter of time before an applicant files suit.

About John Pierce

Monachus Lex is written by Virginia attorney John Pierce. John is a life-long gun rights advocate, an NRA certified instructor and co-founder of the nationwide gun rights group OpenCarry.org.

He has an undergraduate degree in Computer Information Systems, an MBA from George Mason University and is a 2012 Honors Graduate of Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul, MN.

Professionally, John is a member of the American Bar Association Second Amendment Civil Rights Litigation Subcommittee and his writings have been published by the ABA Civil Rights Litigation Committee and the ABA Minority Trial Lawyer Committee.

In addition, his open carry advocacy has been featured on Nightline and The Daily Show With Jon Stewart.
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9 Responses to Social Media Sites Pose Unique Challenges For Gun Owners

  1. JOHN CAILE says:

    There is already an overabundance of negative sterotyping of gun owners – but to imply that merely having a photo of oneself with a gun is ‘Demonstrating potentially violent behavior’ is an outrage.

    If we don’t fight back on this, shame on us.

  2. Pingback: Firearms, Social Media, and Employment « Right of Middle

  3. Janell Stinson says:

    Our forefathers have got to be riled in Heaven! Too many people have forgotten what this country was founded on & the means by which they did so. Fight to get back to original Constitutional Law so we can start over!

  4. I am 63 years old, a family physician, intensely interested in issues of freedom, guns and hunting ever since adolescence and have never hurt or threatened to hurt any human being in my entire life. I resent to the highest degree any implication that association with a firearm could be interpreted independently of any violent behavior as predictive of violent tendencies. Perhaps anyone who thinks otherwise SHOULD have some “violent tendencies” demonstrated against them due to their idiocy.

  5. jk says:

    This is why I do not use any social networking sites.

  6. MKEgal says:

    I could agree with a determination that the man in question might be exhibiting poor judgment (by allowing a picture to be taken & posted while drinking & displaying a rifle), but what if it were a deer-hunting rifle, with a dead deer next to it & him standing triumphantly over?
    Or how about someone who’s an Olympic-level pistol shooter, posting a photo w/ pistols & trophies?
    Or, gee, my FB page has pictures by (& credited to!!) Oleg Volk. Lots of firearms there.
    Would this spy company bother to read any of the messages he puts on/with his photos, or would they just see that I have lots of pictures w/ firearms & tell an prospective employer that I was “demonstrating potentially violent behavior”?

    A good reason to be careful what info you allow to be seen publicly on social networking sites, as well as who you ‘friend’ (because they can generally see more about you).

  7. MKEgal says:

    BTW, do you think that if the company was based in, say, AZ or TX instead of CA that their ‘investigators’ might have a bit different viewpoint?
    (That’s a rhetorical question.)

  8. revjen45 says:

    Probably not a good idea to pose with guns. The Sicherheitspolizei snoop those sites too. I don’t get involved in social networking because 1) my life isn’t exciting enough to be of interest to anyone but my wife, and 2) I don’t care to provide material for snoopery by employers, the secret police, or anybody else.

  9. Otto Dipthong says:

    This is nothing more than a political litmus test. You had better be a good marxist or at least only say and do marxist things in public or NO JOB FOR YOU.

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