Can Software Determine If Someone Is Racist or Violent?

A new employee background-check program scans social media for red flags

2 February 2016

Software from Fama Technologies analyzes a person’s digital footprint to help employers better understand the character of a job applicant. Many employers already scan social media themselves, but Ben Mones, Fama CEO and cofounder, says they’re not being comprehensive enough.

The program analyzes posted messages, images, and videos, checking for signs of illegal drug use, bigotry, and violent tendencies as indicated by offensive keywords and violent terms. Suspicious posts are flagged so the employer can decide whether a candidate is right for the job.

“Who you are online is indicative of who you are in the offline world,” Mones said in a TechCrunch article. An employer using Fama’s program will get a better sense if someone is likely to get the company in trouble, he says. Others argue, however, that such software can be inaccurate and might paint a false image.

Does such software go too far? What concerns does it raise?

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