Social Media Vetting: Unveiling the Hidden Layers

In personal and professional aspects, social media has become an integral part of our lives. As a result, organizations, including those responsible for background vetting, are recognizing the need to adapt their screening processes to encompass a thorough evaluation of an individual’s online presence. In this blog post, we will delve into the significance of social media screening from the perspective of a background and vetting company, with a particular focus on the recent case involving errors in Michigan’s vetting process.

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Background Vetting – Addressing Oversights:

The recent incident at Michigan, as acknowledged by Jim Harbaugh, highlights the potential for errors in even the most established institutions’ vetting processes. It serves as a stark reminder of the importance of implementing robust screening measures to ensure a comprehensive assessment of a candidate’s background. While the company responsible for the vetting in this case may have cleared the individual, it is evident that important aspects were overlooked, emphasizing the need for a more thorough approach.

The Role of Social Media Screening:

Social media screening has emerged as a crucial component of modern background vetting, especially when it comes to high-profile individuals. It provides valuable insights into an individual’s character, associations, and potential red flags that may not be evident through traditional vetting methods. Companies like ASG Investigations recognize the significance of incorporating social media screening into their processes to enhance the accuracy and depth of their assessments.

Unmasking Ghost Accounts:

One of the key benefits of social media screening is the ability to uncover ghost accounts. These accounts are often created using pseudonyms or aliases, making it challenging to identify the true identity and activities of an individual. By employing advanced tools and methodologies, background and vetting companies can detect and expose these ghost accounts, providing a more comprehensive understanding of an individual’s digital footprint.  These accounts are often disassociated with the individual’s true identity for good reason and often contain information that the person isn’t willing to share publicly under their own name.

Evaluating a Person’s Sphere:

vetting with social media

In addition to identifying ghost accounts, social media screening enables the evaluation of an individual’s social connections and associations. By analyzing their network, background vetting companies can gain valuable insights into an individual’s affiliations, relationships, and potential warning signs. This holistic approach ensures a more thorough assessment, helping organizations make informed decisions about a candidate’s suitability for a position.

The Expertise of Professional Investigators:

Professional investigators with specialized skills play a vital role in conducting social media screening effectively. These investigators possess expertise in open-source data collection, accessing various records, and employing advanced techniques to uncover hidden information. Their proficiency in navigating the vast landscape of social media platforms allows them to extract meaningful insights and interpret the implications of an individual’s online presence.

In an era where social media plays a significant role in our lives, comprehensive background vetting must include social media screening. The Michigan incident serves as a reminder that errors can occur even in well-established vetting processes, emphasizing the importance of adopting robust screening measures. Social media screening, including the detection of ghost accounts and evaluation of association networks, provides valuable information that traditional methods may overlook. By incorporating social media screening and leveraging the expertise of professional investigators, organizations can enhance their vetting processes and make more informed decisions based on a thorough understanding of a candidate’s background, character, and associations.

ESPN. (2021). Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh says ‘error’ made in vetting process with Glenn Schembechler. Retrieved from

Martin, B., & Kitzmiller, R. (2019). The Role of Social Media Screening in the Hiring Process. Employment Relations Today, 46(1), 13-18. doi: 10.1002/ert.21636

Herron, J., & Varga, D. (2019). Unmasking Ghost Accounts: Detecting False Identities on Social Media. European Intelligence and Security Informatics Conference (EISIC), 17-20. doi: 10.1109/EISIC49497.2019.9108881

Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). (2020). Using Social Media for Talent Acquisition—Recruitment and Screening. Retrieved from


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