Fama Helps Businesses Find Social Media “Red Flags” Before Hiring Someone

Fama Technologies aims to help companies screen potential employees by analyzing their social media posts.

You might not like the idea that something dumb you posted years ago on Twitter could affect your chances of getting a job, but Fama CEO and co-founder Ben Mones said employers are already performing this kind of social media screening — they’re just not doing it very comprehensively or systematically.

And he doesn’t see that as a bad thing. After all, social media can give an employer a better sense of whether someone will be a good fit, and also whether they’re likely to get the company in trouble by posting something offensive.

“Who you are online is very indicative — if not equally indicative — of who you are in the offline world,” Mones argued. “This is what people are just starting to come to terms with.”

Fama customers can identify the “social media red flags” that they want to screen for, whether it’s drug use, sexual content, bigotry or profanity, among other things. The service analyzes text, images and video (in part by leveraging Amazon’s crowdsourcing platform Mechanical Turk).

Mones said that in general, employers are less interested in, say, whether or not you smoked pot or drank a lot in college, and more in issues like whether or not you act respectfully toward women.

He also emphasized that Fama doesn’t provide recommendations. It just gives hiring managers additional data — a distinction that could help the service avoid thorny legal problems.

“We’re not assigning a score to individuals, or drawing conclusions/making claims about whether or not someone should be hired,” he said. “What we are doing is providing enough distilled data to hiring managers so they can make a decision. Bringing folks to the precipice of action. This helps us ensure that we (or our clients) are never held for libel, because we aren’t scoring.”

He added that Fama is compliant with the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and that it does not highlight protected classes of information, like race, gender or disability.

Fama also announced a partnership today with HR workflow and background check company CARCO to offer combined products.

Update: Also worth mentioning —Fama is backed by the Amplify.LA accelerator.