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Why Political Campaigns Should Use Social Media Screening for All Their Staffers

By Lindsey Twigg on 12 Jun 2019
  • social media background checks

As American political candidates begin ramping up for an election year, it seems only timely to discuss how social media screening could be of excellent use to candidates as well as their campaign teams. Because social media has revolutionized the way we campaign and perceive campaigns, candidates and elected officials alike now have the unique opportunity to engage with their constituencies more and more intimately...which inevitably means more scrutiny on their online histories. We humbly suggest a few reasons candidates should consider utilizing third-party SMS to make sure their hiring and research processes are airtight.

They can use SMS on themselves to prepare for opposition attacks

No doubt political campaigns are already hiring the best of the best to dig up as much dirt as possible for the opposition. While we can’t exactly endorse anything of that sort, we do know that candidates also hire private investigators to pre-emptively search for the same thing the opposition is inevitably digging for. The thing is, while “manual” labor by a seasoned private eye is admirable and in a sense comforting to know that someone has “done the work” for you, searching a candidate’s history manually is time-consuming and tedious. Campaigns could save a lot of money by redirecting their online efforts to a third-party social media screening service--which has automated features and is therefore dependably exhaustive--instead of locking a staffer in a room for three days to manually exhaust all possible google combinations of their candidates name and various lascivious behaviors. Not to mention, a third party ensures an anonymous, unbiased process!

Political figures are held to a higher standard

...so by extension, so should their employees. While an individual campaign staffer may never be remembered by name for the things they’ve done, they would certainly be remembered by their boss’s (i.e. candidate’s) name. Like we’ve written about in the past, even the most responsible campaign staffers are not immune to these slip-ups! The headline potential is endless: “Biden Campaign Staffer Outed for Accidentally Posting Nude Photos While on the Campaign Trail” or “Trump Staffer Posts Photos of Wild Party in Campaign Hotel.” While it’s imaginable that staffers who work under unimaginable pressure would want to live by a “work hard, play hard” strategy, nobody wants to live with the guilt that they cost their boss their elected office. SMS is a perfect way to help clean up a campaign team, or--better yet--build a clean, self-selecting workplace from the ground up.

In the era of #metoo, campaigns are already upping their screening game

According to this HuffPost article, some Democratic candidates are cracking down on screening all staffers by asking them to self-report any past complaints of workplace misconduct. Additionally, cracking down might include grilling a staffer’s professional references and past employers for histories of misconduct, especially sexual harassment. You know what we’re going to say: social media screening fits perfectly into this sort of battery of intense screening. Especially if campaigns are following the lead of younger, social-media-savvy representatives such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortes by intimately engaging with and educating their constituencies over social media. It becomes absolutely imperative that their own social media and online histories be in lockstep with their campaign values.

Think about it, what if we lived in a day where political candidates were so aware of their social media and online backlogs that they could be as upfront and transparent about their past as their tax returns? What if the evolution of a candidate from past values or mistakes to present ones could be disclosed in public to a candidate’s benefit, instead of coming back to haunt them over and over? While that sort of moral transparency may be aspirational, social media screening can still help candidates and their teams by giving them the right tools to run cleaner, more responsible, more socially aware campaigns.