Social Media

Beware! A sizzling social media presence may leave you jobless

KV Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on September 11, 2019

The study suggests people to conduct regular digital health checks and take measures to protect the professional image online.

Check if what you post can be NSFW - Not Safe For Work


Social media, most feel, is liberating. It gives a democratic space for all to express oneself fearlessly. Only, one should know one’s limits and one should be aware of the consequences, particularly if you aspire for a job or want to hang on to the present employment.

Cyber security experts have warned the young and professionals to be careful of what they post on social media. The mantra for a healthy social media behaviour is – think twice before posting content that can be potentially NSFW or Not Safe For Work.

McAfee study

Good news is that a sizeable chunk of users have become aware of this. A recent study, focussed on India, conducted by cyber security solutions company McAfee reveals that over 40 per cent of the respondents agree that they could get fired for controversial content on their social media channels.

It warns that there is a risk to people’s professional reputation due to controversial content on their social media profiles. Forget about losing a job opportunity or a job itself, nonchalant attitude in maintaining social media profiles could make it easier for cyber criminals to sneak in and harm.

“Along with being cautious about the posted content, people need to take a closer look at privacy settings on their social media profiles to prevent the wrong people from stumbling across damaging and personal content,” it points out.

Digital health check-ups

It wants people to conduct regular digital health checks and take measures to protect the professional image online.

“As you lookout for new career opportunities, you need to ensure that your social media footprint does not end up having serious professional repercussions,” it asks the working professionals and students.

“We need to be mindful of how we represent ourselves online. It is important to indulge in sharing content that paints you in a professional and positive light and avoid posting any content that can tarnish your professional image,” Venkat Krishnapur, Vice-President (Engineering and Managing Director) of McAfee India, has said.

Key findings

The survey, which covered 1,000 adults in the country, finds that about one-third of respondents say they haven’t done anything to change social media privacy settings despite knowing how to. “About one-fifth of them know someone whose career prospects have been negatively affected by social media content they’ve posted. About 26 per cent admit to posting negative content about their current workplace.

There is a silver lining too. A good number of people are positively using the social media channels. “About 63.1 per cent of the respondents have set up a social media profile, specifically for professional use, with 46.9 per cent preferring to keep personal and work life separate,” the survey revealed.

The young users are increasingly aware of the pitfalls than their elder counterparts. “Those of university age are more concerned with how their digital footprint affects their reputation at work compared to older generations. Of those in the age group of 16-24 years, 31.4 per cent agree that social media content is important to their career prospects, compared to 24.6 per cent of those aged between 35-44 years,” it says.

“Of those aged between 16-24 years, 41.1 per cent are very careful about social media content they post and are tagged in, as compared to 35.6 per cent of those in the age group of 45-55 years,” it says.

Tips to be safe

McAfee asks people to conduct regular digital health checks on their social media accounts, both personal and professional. “Don’t leave personal information and embarrassing or incriminating old photos and posts on display to potential employers and cyber criminals looking to harvest personal data,” it says.

“Giving your social media accounts a routine clean-up can minimise the negative impact on corporate reputation. Consumers also need to ensure that they increase privacy settings on active accounts and shut dormant accounts, so information doesn’t get into the wrong hands,” it says.

* Give your digital past a clean-up.

* Delete unused social media accounts, unwanted tags in comments and posts.

* Don’t let embarrassing posts, comments haunt you.

* Turn your profiles to private to restrict access to the content.

* Never reuse passwords. Use unique passwords for each one of your accounts.

* Think twice before you post.

* Cyber secure devices to guard against viruses, identity thefts, malware

Published on September 10, 2019

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