Top to Bottom Social Media Background Checks with Ferretly: What is it and What Our Reports Tell

The all-encompassing guide for Ferretly's social media background checks

Top to Bottom Social Media Background Checks with Ferretly: What is it and What Our Reports Tell

Social media background screening is the process of evaluating a person's or entity's online presence, primarily across social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. It involves systematically analyzing their digital footprint, including posts, comments, shares, and overall online behavior, to gain insights into their character, values, and potential risks.

Understanding Social Media Background Checks

At its core, social media screening aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of an individual's or organization's digital persona. In today's interconnected world, where personal and professional lives often intersect online, this practice has become increasingly relevant for various stakeholders, including employers, brands, investigators, and researchers.

Who uses social media screening?

Pre-Hire Situations

Employers and recruiters are increasingly turning to social media background screening during the hiring process to gain insights into job candidates beyond their resumes and interviews. By assessing a candidate's online behavior, employers can evaluate their professionalism, communication skills, and potential red flags that may impact their suitability for a role.

Public Sector

Government agencies and public sector organizations often conduct social media background checks to ensure the integrity and suitability of their employees, particularly those in sensitive positions or roles that involve public trust.

Media and Entertainment

In the media and entertainment industry, social media background screening is crucial to assess a candidate's online presence, reputation, and potential controversies that may impact their ability to represent the organization.

Insurance and Financial Sectors

Insurance and financial institutions rely on social media background checks to evaluate the character and decision-making skills of their employees, especially those in client-facing roles or positions that involve handling sensitive financial information.

Other Sectors

Social media background screening is also widely used in sectors such as healthcare, education, and non-profit organizations to ensure that their employees align with the organization's values and mission and to mitigate potential risks.

Why social media screening?

Identifying Red Flags and Potential Risks

Social media background screening allows employers to identify potential red flags, such as inappropriate behavior, controversial views, or a lack of professionalism. By addressing these concerns early in the hiring process, organizations can mitigate risks and ensure they make informed decisions that align with their company culture and values.

Assessing Cultural Fit and Alignment

Social media screening can also help employers assess a candidate's cultural fit and alignment with the organization's mission, values, and goals. By analyzing a candidate's online behavior, interests, and affiliations, employers can gain insights into their personality, communication style, and potential compatibility with the team and company culture.

Reducing Employee Turnover and Saving Costs

One of the most significant benefits of social media background screening is its potential to reduce employee turnover and save costs for organizations. The hiring process, onboarding, and training can be costly, and the lack of production during this time can further impact the bottom line. By conducting thorough social media screening, employers can make more informed hiring decisions, reducing the likelihood of hiring candidates who may not be a good fit and ultimately leaving the organization.

The screening process involves

Identifying Accounts

When you add a subject to Ferretly, you will gather all the available information about them, including alias names, known addresses, phone numbers, email, employer, college, high school, age, and social media accounts. The more details you have, the better. Using these identifiers, our analyst team searches across the seven major social media platforms for active accounts. The platforms covered are Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Reddit.

Data Collection

Our AI learning machine will gather publicly available data, including posts, comments, shares, and group affiliations, from the identified accounts. Ferretly will never access posts from private profiles, ask for passwords, or send friend requests.


Evaluate the collected data to identify patterns, sentiments, affiliations, and potential areas of concern or alignment with specific values or criteria. One way this is done is by assigning each flagged post to one of eleven predefined behaviors.

1. Gory Images

Ferretly's algorithms are trained to detect images depicting disfigurations, open wounds, burns, and crime scenes. Such graphic content may be indicative of exposure to violence or traumatic events, which could raise concerns about an individual's well-being or potential risks.

2. Nudity Images

Ferretly’a AI can identify explicit nudity, adult content, and pornographic images. These types of images could signal potential issues related to inappropriate behavior, exploitation, or involvement in illicit activities.

3. Drug Images

Images of pills, syringes, paraphernalia, smoking, drinking, and injections are flagged by Ferretly's algorithms. These visuals may indicate substance abuse or involvement with illegal drugs, which could have serious implications for an individual's health, safety, and the workplace.

4. Disparaging Language

Ferretly's natural language processing capabilities allow it to detect name-calling or derogatory statements directed toward an individual's physical characteristics, such as weight, height, looks, or intelligence. Such language can be a sign of bullying, harassment, or a lack of respect for others.

5. Prejudiced Statements

Derogatory, abusive, or threatening statements towards specific groups based on race, religion, or sexual orientation are identified by Ferretly. These types of statements can be indicative of discriminatory attitudes, hate speech, or potential extremist ideologies.

6. Political and Government Rhetoric

Statements focused on government policies, actions, specific politicians, or ideologies are flagged by Ferretly. While political discourse is a fundamental right, extreme or inflammatory rhetoric on these topics could signal potential radicalization or involvement in extremist groups.

7. Threats of Violence

Ferretly's algorithms are trained to detect explicit threats of harm or intent to inflict loss of life on others. Such threats should be taken seriously and may indicate potential risks of violence or criminal behavior.

8. Self-Harm Indicators

Indications of wanting to hurt oneself or take one's own life, as well as mentions of suicide or suicidal behavior in others, are identified by Ferretly. These indicators could signal mental health issues or a need for immediate intervention and support.

9. Suggestive Content

Expressions relating to sexual misconduct, demeaning language, or potential sexual harassment are flagged by Ferretly. Such content could be a sign of inappropriate behavior, harassment, or a toxic environment.

10. Profanity and Obscene Language

While profanity itself may not always be concerning, Ferretly can detect obscene language, cursing, swearing, and crude or vulgar words and phrases. Excessive use of such language could be an indicator of anger issues, lack of self-control, or disrespectful behavior.

11. Drug and Alcohol Mentions

Statements related to drugs and drug use, including slang words, street names, and phrases, are identified by Ferretly. These mentions could signal substance abuse issues, involvement in illegal activities, or potential risks to an individual's well-being.


In addition to these 11 behavioral indicators, Ferretly allows users to provide custom keywords to flag posts based on specific terms or phrases of interest. This feature enables a tailored approach to identifying potential concerns or areas of focus.


Your results are compiled in a comprehensive report that includes a summary, social media score, details for each behavioral attribute and flagged posts. The report highlights key insights, potential risks, and an overall assessment of the subject’s online behavior. Ferretly’s reports can even be white-labeled for our partners.

Report insights

Subject Score

Ferretly's reports provide a wealth of information to help users understand an individual's online presence and behavior. At the heart of each report is the subject score, ranging from 0 to 1000, which represents the proportion of flagged posts to overall posts analyzed, combined with the overall sentiment. This score offers a quick snapshot, but it's important to interpret it in the context of the subject's industry, role, and specific circumstances.

Please note that the score is not an indicator of a candidate's risk to the organization if hired. Subject score and sentiment should not be used for FCRA permissible use cases such as pre-employment hiring decisions.

Word Cloud

To further enrich the analysis, Ferretly generates a visually striking word cloud that highlights the most frequently used words in the subject's posts, providing insights into their interests, concerns, and communication style. Complementing this is a sentiment over time graph, which plots the average sentiment of all posts over a specified period.

Channel Volumes

Ferretly provides an overview of the subject's channel volumes, breaking down the number of posts made across different social media platforms. This information can be valuable for understanding an individual's online presence and engagement levels across various channels.

Web and News

Ferretly's social media background screening includes a web and news feature that scans the internet for relevant posts about the subject. It returns the top 24 most relevant posts from across the web and news sites, providing a comprehensive view of the subject's online presence.

Whitelabel Reports

For our partners, Ferretly offers a white-labeling solution that allows businesses and organizations to put their brand on the report seamlessly. This feature enables users to customize the look and feel of the reports, ensuring a consistent and professional experience aligned with their brand identity. By white-labeling Ferretly's reports, our partners can present valuable insights and data in a format that reinforces their brand and maintains a cohesive visual identity.


Ferretly offers API integrations with various HR and recruiting platforms to streamline the social media background check process for candidates. Some of the key integrations include Accio, Greenhouse, Tazworks, and Fountain, as well as our own open API for third-party integrations. These integrations allow users to order social media reports directly from within their preferred system. The integration process is straightforward, with clear steps provided in the respective integration guides on our help page.

Commitment to Legal and Ethical Compliance

We are committed to adhering to federal and state laws, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and Data Protection Act (DPA). Our commitment to legal and ethical compliance ensures that our screening practices are fair, transparent, and respectful of privacy.


In conclusion, Ferretly's comprehensive social media background screening services provide invaluable insights into an individual's or entity's online presence and behavior. By leveraging advanced AI technology, a team of dedicated analysts, and a robust screening process, Ferretly delivers detailed reports that empower clients to make informed decisions. Whether for hiring purposes, background checks, due diligence, or reputation management, Ferretly's commitment to legal and ethical compliance ensures a fair and transparent screening experience. With its user-friendly white-labeling solution, customizable reporting, and a wealth of data-driven insights, Ferretly is a trusted partner in navigating the complexities of the digital landscape and gaining an understanding of a subject's online footprint.

To learn more about Ferretly’s AI-Powered Social Media Screening solution, set up a demonstration today or reach out at

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