Social Media Background Checks Completed, Crisis Averted

Author: Josh Perry

Social media background checks are becoming more and more common for businesses. Regardless of size or industry, leaders are seeing benefits from being proactive in vetting social media when brands and reputations are on the line.

Milkshake Duck

Regardless of whether or not you have any idea what a Milkshake Duck is, if you’ve spent any time online, you’ve seen the inspiration for the meme in action. Twitter satirist @pixelatedboat minted the Milkshake Duck trope, which represents an emerging media trend online.

Essentially the trend goes like this:

  1. An everyday individual rises to prominence – in the instance of the tweet that spawned the meme, a duck that is capable of drinking milkshakes
  2. Suddenly, we’re all in love with this newly-minted Milkshake Duck
  3. Researchers from across the web, curious about Milkshake Duck, deep dive into the individual’s background
  4. Vetters discover our fowl friend has a foul past as a racist, bigot, or has expressed some undesirable message
  5. In response, Milkshake Duck is ostracized and canceled as quickly as he rose to fame

Now imagine replacing the imaginary duck that drinks milkshakes with a high-profile hire for your company. Rather than benefiting from a period of positive press, your company finds itself operating in issue management mode.

Social Media Background Checks

Don’t think it can happen to you? It happens more often than you think.

Years-old tweets and other posts online don’t even have to be inherently bad to present a problem. Perhaps it’s an inside joke. Maybe it’s a joke within the context of a conversation, and there’s a perfectly innocent explanation. Or, it could be a statement that was perfectly innocuous five to ten years ago but doesn’t look so great in today’s light.

Your new employee may have posted something negative about the company years ago that could be embarrassing when announcing the hire.

Here are a few headlines you’ll find searching “past tweets” on Google:

Social Media Background Crisis

A case of particular note is that of The Des Moines Register. The Register found itself at the center of a complex social media background crisis in 2019.

A reporter uncovered racist tweets from the past of a college student at the center of a feel-good story. Reviews of the reporter’s social media background also revealed racist and demeaning posts.

The Register took action and posted its response to Twitter:

Invest in Social Media Background Checks

In today’s environment, businesses can take steps to be proactive and avoid embarrassment.

Everest Communications is here to help you avoid and navigate these situations with social media background checks. We work with multi-million-dollar organizations to conduct digital audits of brand representatives and potential hires.  We help pinpoint potential trouble areas and make recommendations to ensure positive outcomes for employees, companies, and their brands.

Background audits include identifying social media and digital profiles owned, operated by, or about the individual(s); identifying potential controversial subjects broached; and providing risk assessments tailored to your specific industry, individual, and company needs. Also, we identify potential privacy issues and provide consultation to address any gaps identified.

Take Action and Avert Communication Crises

When it comes to your representatives and new hires, we know you are excited.  When you make announcements important to your brand and your people, Everest helps you prevent surprises and ensure your big announcements go smoothly.

If you’d like more information about how Everest Communications can help you or your organization avoid a Milkshake Duck situation with social media background checks, reach out to us today!