by Aimee Cartwright

Social Media Checks are becoming commonplace in many industries, particularly education, healthcare and financial services.

With this development comes understandable agitation surrounding what shows up on a Social Media Check. Plenty of forums reveal job applicants are unsure how this process works, or how much information their prospective employer has access to.

Today, we’re going to clear this up by outlining exactly what we can see in a Social Media Check. Although this differs by company, SP Index is passionate about candidate privacy, so we only look for content that is publicly available.

Are Employers Allowed to Investigate Applicants’ Social Media?

Yes, employers are entitled to check the social media of any job applicants or current members of staff – provided they have identified a clear legal basis under Article 6 of the GDPR and that they obtain consent before doing so.

If any adverse content is reported, good practice suggests that employers should show the candidate what has been found,  in order for the candidate to consider whether the content could be amended or deleted. It is then left to the employer to consider whether the outcomes will satisfy their risk assessment.

Although this is a risk for everyone in employment, it is more likely that individuals applying for safeguarding roles will be investigated.

SP Index’s top industries include:

  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Recruitment
  • Legal and finance
  • Airport, airlines and aviation suppliers
  • Contact and call centres
  • Retail

What Do Employers Have Access to on a Social Media Check?

Although SP Index does not follow such an approach, some employers and external background check companies investigate candidates’ private messages, as well as any publicly available information.

We choose to analyse only information that is publicly open to all (e.g., a public Twitter account or a media article).

Within each platform, researchers have access to everything the candidate has exposed publicly. This may include:

  • Posts
  • Photos
  • Likes
  • Shares
  • Groups
  • Comments
  • News articles
What Does an SP Index Social Media Check Show? – FAQs
Will You See My Private or Locked Accounts?

We may find private accounts, but do not process any information contained within them.

For example, if you have a Facebook account that only shows your profile picture and cover photo, this is all we will process.

Can You See My Private Messages?

No, we do not access your private messages, in WhatsApp, Messenger or any other application.

We believe that reading a candidates’ private messages would violate their privacy, and therefore we only analyse content that is publicly available.

Will You See My Social Media If It’s Under a Different Name?

Using a different name online can help with privacy, but there is no guarantee that your social media accounts will fly under the radar.

Our expert team of researchers are skilled at identifying online accounts, even when the candidate is going by a different name.

Do You Ask for Candidates’ Usernames?

No, we do not ask for candidates’ usernames. As part of our dedication to candidate privacy, we believe it is unethical if not unlawful to request usernames from candidates.

This is something that makes us stand out against  other background check companies and employers performing in-house Social Media Checks.

Will You Tell My Employer About My Political or Religious Views?

No, we do not report on political or religious content unless it has been flagged for another reason.

For example, violent threats to political figures or political content featuring illegal activity or online bullying would be flagged.

Our Ethical Social Media Checks

SP Index’s commitment to privacy keeps our customers coming back for our compliant Social Media Checks.

If you would like to experience our unparalleled service for yourself, get in touch on 0800 468 1688 or

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