Fake news. Fake news is any news created for a purpose other than to accurately report actual current events.
“What’s on your mind?” This question is asked by thousands, and answered almost twenty times a day by each Facebook user. Many of which do not realize that one simple phrase can be the determinant of “hire” or “fire” in the job market. Several employers are now using social-networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter to not only fire employees for content, but also for screening potential candidates for a position. This topic is steadily approaching to become a major concern in the business world, and is seen as being an unethical action among employers.
What Employers Found
One in five hiring managers in the human resources departments are conducting profile screenings using social networking sites (Social Networks Yielding Good & Bad Input for Hiring). Facebook has become the most popular medium for employers to use. Alone it has 66 million users, and more employers are steadily and increasingly using popular sites such as Facebook to check job candidates (Greenwald, Judy). In these sites they search for information on the candidate to determine the person’s character, criminal reports, personality, and other information.
An additional nine percent of employers do not currently use these methods, but plan to in the future (Social Networks Yielding Good & Bad Input for Hiring). According to an article in Teller Vision, “Social Networking Sites Become Hiring Managers’ Tool” about thirty-five percent of employers reported they uncovered information about an applicant that prevented them from consideration (Social Networking Sites Become Hiring Managers’ Tool).
Listed below are the top concerns that employers found:
- 41% of users posted content about their drinking or drug usage
- 40% of users posted inappropriate pictures and information
- 29% of users was considered having bad communication skills
- 27% of users lied about skills and abilities
- 22% of users had an unprofessional screen name
- 21% of users has information linked to criminal actions (Social Networking Sites Become Hiring Managers’ Tool)
CareerBuilder.com reported that 64% of employers found information online that actually benefited potential candidates (Is Web-Screening AP Job Candidates a Good idea?).
- 34% found people with great communication skills
- 31% found a link between the applicant and the organization culture
- 23% saw good professional resources from the candidate
- 23% thought the candidate was creative
Most business employers believe that they are out of harm’s way with looking at Internet profiles strictly because there are not any laws stopping them from searching those sites (The Internet Brings Risks and Challenges to Hiring).
Paul Marks, vice president of Gilbert Tweed Associates (executive search firm), states in the 2006 HRFocus that human resource professionals also believe that they are entitled to obtain as much information as possible about a potential employee, and that social profiles are a good way to get results (The Internet Brings Risks and Challenges to Hiring). They argue that even though the social websites were created for fun and are for casual use, this medium is “fair game for their organization” (The Internet Brings Risks and Challenges to Hiring).
Is it Legal?
A few years ago, majority of businesses no longer required applicants to include a picture of themselves with their application to avoid discriminatory acts (Elefant). However, now employers are using networking mediums on the internet to screen. This now becomes a concern of discrimination towards the protected class (Elefant).
Facebook, for example, includes people’s religious views, marital status, political views, and demographics; many factors that employers consider when hiring but do not publicize due to lawsuits. If employers are looking at these networks to screen applicants for hire, or to check on current employees for a possible fire, then who’s to say that they are not taking in these other personal factors such as race, religion, and sex.
A recent survey of 350 employers concluded:
- 44% of employers use social profiles
- 39% of employers searched their current employee’s profile (Elefant).
This causes many problems for individual wanting to get hired, and for those who are already in the company. Employers really have to use caution when using these applications because it could result into a lawsuit for those who are scrutinized.
Due to the current economic status of the United States economy, there is a huge flow of job applicants searching for employment. For employers it is difficult to hire candidates from such a big band of people with the same qualifications (Jeffrey). In result to this, employers seek other methods which may or may not be the best alternative. Many companies use Internet searches to find more about a job candidate or a current employee (Jeffrey). There are some people who argue that this action has to be illegal. There is no law that prohibits the use of social profiles as background checks. However, the employer actions can lead to “discrimination claims and invasion of privacy claims (Jeffrey).
Screening applicants using social networking sites could lead to employment charges on discrimination and litigation, and employers are setting themselves up for legal charges when they use social sites to rule out certain people (Greenwald). “Failure to hire” lawsuits are a small part of employment litigation, but observers do expect that this issue will arise and expand the use of employers utilizing social networks (Greenwald). In addition, the use of social websites to screen could be evidence in a lawsuit case (Greenwald).
Employers should refrain from checking social profiles during their screening processes because it implies the use of discriminatory factors such as demographics (Greenwald). George Lenard stated in his article that “unlawful discrimination” could occur from the employer for checking social sites on the Internet because it affects the employer’s biases on the applicant (Lenard). He also suggest that employers may take into consideration a person’s skin color and sexual orientation which leads to adverse decision making for the employer (Lenard).
Invasion of privacy
Individuals who try to claim that employers are invading their privacy have a slight chance of it ever being an actual privacy claim against an employer. Because the Internet has a lower “expectation of privacy”, you are liable for the content you post, websites you visit, and etc (CCH® HR MANAGEMENT).
Although you have the privacy setting on the social website, employers can still get into you information especially if you have used a company computer (CCH® HR MANAGEMENT). URL history can always be used to track recent online activity, so viewing profiles at work would not be a grand idea (CCH® HR MANAGEMENT).
Invasion of privacy claim is rather difficult for a person to use against an employer because it is our decision to post certain information on our social profiles. Also, companies can hire certain a third party to use Facebook, Twitter, and other mediums to see what you are posting. This causes a lot of issues because you never know who is viewing your profile or for what reasons.
Which Industries Search?
One of the main stakeholders in this issue are the employers. They are the group who have the ability to screen, hire, and fire applicants based on decisions that they feel are necessary. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) survey, about 30% of organizations reported that they have reviewed applicants’ profiles on social web sites (Society for Human Resource Management ).
Among the organizations that responded to the poll, here are the percentages of those who actually view job candidates on the internet:
- Services sector: 30.9%
- Manufacturing sector: 21.9%
- Government/Non-profit sector: 20% (Society for Human Resource Management )
From those participants:
- 7.4% stated that they use this method in their standard screening process
- 41.2% occasionally check social sites
- 35.3% rarely performed profile checks via internet (Society for Human Resource Management )
Employers argue that the information they find on certain candidates, and on current employees are devastating to the company. The company has to maintain a certain image, and believes that the smallest things can lead back to the company. Businesses know that people are using Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and other social sites to “express themselves regularly” (Hernández, Gina M.). Companies also believe that users are likely to combine their personal and professional attitudes on their social profiles (Hernández). This makes Facebook an easy medium for screening potential applicants in the job market.
Who’s in Danger?
There are many groups of people that are affected by this issue. However, I believe the main targets are college students, or post-graduates. This group are frequent users of social media, and are very fresh in the job market. A study shows that people between the ages of 25 and 34 are the most common everyday users for online job searching; behind that age group was 18 to 24 years of age (Hernández). Many young adults are the ones who are getting ridiculed for having obscene pictures, comments, or blogs on their profiles; which then leads to them not being considered for a job or even fired from within the company.
Tips to a Professional Profile
A very high number of industries are reviewing applicants’ Facebook sites to make decisions on hiring, and is seen as a “vetting tool” (Greenwood, Bill). As stated before, employers are highly turned off by people who post information about drug use or alcohol use, those who post provocative pictures, and those who showed low communication skills (Social Networking Sites Become Hiring Managers’ Tool).
CareerBuilder.com surveyed about 3,200 human resource managers and configured a list of tips that could help job seekers who currently have a social profile (Grove).
- Clean up social profile before you begin looking for work. This includes removing photos, links to inappropriate activity, and any content that may be unprofessional in the work force (Grove) (Jeffrey).
- Create a professional profile on the social sites. Employers will be able to see more of the knowledge, skills, and abilities that you can offer to the job position (Grove).
- Highlight positives about yourself. Try to leave out the negatives aspects of your life, and try to relate personal information to professionalism (Grove).
- Be cautious of who you select as friends. This also includes monitoring what statements you post on other people’s profiles as well (Grove).
- For those currently employed, try not to mention information about the company; or information about leaving the current field (Grove).
Dave Hawkins, the director of public policy and research at the National Association for College Admission Counseling says that students and current employees should limit the amount of information they share on these social sites, and avoid posting improper behavior (Greenwood).
Gandiseeg Troll Theory. Gandiseeg Troll Theory is a variant of wider Internet Troll Theory. It is relatively unique in its emphasis on troll sympathy and an apportioning of blame to troll-baiters.
The basic theory can been summed up in the Gandiseeg First Law of Troll-Baiting, which states: “In any given situation, the true likelihood is that the aggressor(s) are those making accusations of trolling“.
The theory essentially suggests that, most of the time, ‘troll-baiters’ are at fault for making false or exaggerated accusations of trollery. Gandiseeg Troll Theory contends that no-one is born an internet troll but that, much of the time, trolls are created in the collective minds of aggressors. Often, the supposed troll will suggest a viewpoint which, while controversial and/or unusual, is perfectly legitimate and non-aggressive.
The aggressors, who might disagree with the viewpoint and/or feel challenged by it, tend to make the accusation of trollery as an instantaneous and powerful put-down. It immediately belittles the person’s viewpoint and standing, as the word ‘troll’ automatically inspires a feeling of hatred and disdain in many internet users.
Most of the time, troll-baiters have security in greater number than the ‘troll’, allowing opportunity for multiple supportive accusations. Sometimes this results in inflaming the ‘troll’ to such an extent that he/she does then actually begin to act like a troll.
Origin and Research
Gandiseeg Troll Theory was so named because it was first formulated on http://www.gandiseeg.com. A great deal of research has been undertaken to back up the theory. Much of it was conducted in internet chat rooms and forums, with agents suggesting subject-appropriate viewpoints which were unusual and/or controversial but perfectly valid.
Examples of such statements include:
- “Mozilla Firefox is nowhere near as good as Internet Explorer”.
- “Toothpaste is mostly a money-making scam and has little useful effect on teeth”.
- “I find atheists to be often contradictory in their beliefs”.
- “I believe 9/11 was an inside job”.
- “Hitler may not have ordered the Holocaust”.
It was found that 72% of the time, the person suggesting the viewpoint was at some point accused of being a ‘troll’, even though they clearly explained their viewpoint when asked. This figure was even higher than initially expected and clearly supports the Gandiseeg First Law of Troll-Baiting.
Ultimately, Gandiseeg Troll Theory suggests quite clearly that the reason for many disputes is that a lot of people on the Internet hold very narrow and concentric mainstream views. When the viewpoint of such a person is challenged, they find their whole personality challenged and seek an ‘easy way out’ of any debate.
The accusation of trollery both gives them a thrill of satisfaction and instantly dismisses the opponent’s entire stance and person, often irreparably harming their reputation. Internet trolls do exist, but, according to Gandiseeg Troll Theory, most of the time the person making the accusation is the real ‘troll’.
This article is based on a Wikipedia article of the same title.
Internet Thug. An Internet Thug, cyber gangsta, cyberthug or simply E-Thug in Internet slang, is someone who intentionally posts controversial or makes controversial statements in an on-line community such as an on-line discussion forum or group with the intention of bashing others or inciting violence.
Internet thugs are “One who uses the internet as a front for acting like a tough guy gang member, usually because they are hoping to gain the respect that they lack in their real life.”
Nigerian Internet Gangsters
There does exist many examples of men who utilize the Nigerian Check Scam, which is run by organized crime. They are also known as internet gangsters.
Similar but different from Cyber bullying
It can constitute a computer crime. For example, in the United States it is a federal crime to anonymously “annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any person” via the internet or telecommunication system, punishable by a fine and/or up to two years imprisonment.
An Internet Thug is known as a person who acts hardcore while in an online community but is not the same way in person.
Wiki Hounding. Wiki Hounding is a behaviour where contributions to a wiki service by at least one person are reverted by at least one other person for reasons unconnected with the topic. It can also involve repeated criticisms of someone who contributes to a wiki platform, which can be seen as a form of cyber-bullying and in some cases cyber-stalking.
Wiki Hounding occurs a lot on Wikipedia.
Kiwi Farms is a cyberbullying website that targets disabled people, transsexuals, highly accomplished people, and countless others. Julie Terryberry committed suicide on 29 June 2016 after the malicious cyberbullies of Kiwi Farms created a 193 page thread to mock her. This suicide was seen as an achievement by some of the bullies on Kiwi Farms. Kiwi Farms is hosted by Frantech Solutions, which has refused requests to discontinue hosting the site.
Joshua Conner Moon
Null is a pseudonym used by Joshua Conner Moon (also known as Joshua Moon and Josh Moon). Joshua Moon, a resident of Pensacola, Florida, U.S.A., is a professional cyberbully. He runs Kiwifarms while living with and being financially supported by Candice Lynn Potter (also known as Candice Potter and Candy Potter), a real estate agent for Keller Williams Realty.
Robert Gerald Hawke
Badgeless is a pseudonym used by R. Gerry Hawke (also known as Gerry Hawke, Robert Gerald Hawke, Robert Hawke, Gerald Hawke, and R. G. Hawke). Robert Gerald Hawke, a resident of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, says he is a truck driver and cooking utensils expert. Gerry Hawke likes to defame people who are much more accomplished than him because he resents their accomplishments and feels deficient and jealous. R. G. Hawke tries to feel better about himself by lying about others.
Lulzkiller is a pseudonym used by Connor Evans. Connor Evans, a resident of Wales, U.K., runs the Encyclopedia Dramatica website. He likes to mock people on Kiwifarms and Encyclopedia Drammatica. He likes to use disgusting bigoted terms like “faggot” and “nigga.”
Hawke, Robert Gerald. Robert Gerald Hawke (also known as R. Gerry Hawke, Gerry Hawke, Robert Hawke, Gerald Hawke, R. G. Hawke, and “Badgeless” on Kiwi Farms) is an Internet troll in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Robert Gerald Hawke emailed defamatory statements to a news website and others. Also, he posted defamatory and abusive statements with the userid “Badgeless” on a cyberbullying website called Kiwi Farms.
After sending defamatory statements and being sent a civil claim demand letter, Robert Gerald Hawke a.k.a. R. Gerry Hawke begged for forgiveness by sending multiple emails to the subject defamed with the following statements seeking forgiveness:
I’ve been carefully reading these two cases you sent me articles of, plus some similar cases online. I didn’t know the awards were that serious let alone the costs of defence. We’ve got some equity in a house and two older vehicles but even at legal costs of $35,000, plus whatever judgement, that would pretty much do us in. How do these defendants cope with that? The fees just to get them as far as the courtroom trial seem to be punishment enough.
Regardless of my smart alec emails I think I stepped in over my head. Like I said, the complications and costs just to get this to court seem to make me think twice (even thrice). I don’t know if you let anyone off the hook (like me) after you lay out the reality of what you can put me through considering your familiarity of the legal system.
R. Gerry Hawke
Well, I guess my smart-ass remarks and fancy words haven’t done much for me now, have they?
My eyes were opened when I realized the possibility of my wife’s financial ruin would be linked to mine. She knew nothing of my communication with you until your phone call to her in which you advised her to warn me you would sue me. She had no idea I had been asking questions about you, nor that I was emailing you. She was upset with my questions and resentful that I would put her in a situation that would include her ruin if you sued me. It’s been tense around here, to say the least.
When you warn me of the serious consequences of my actions, as you threaten by pointing out I would be bankrupt. I really didn’t know it was that bad. Who could know? At my age there’s no way to start again. I’ve been jittery, nervous, and unable to sleep. I suppose I should have thought of those consequences as well. I have some mental health issues that I should never have risked making worse by getting involved. I guess one should look at the BIG PICTURE before starting with the questions. It sorta feels like I’m on the wrong end of your big stick and I’m hoping I can move out of the way before it comes down.
I DON’T CARE about my sources, THEY’RE ON THEIR OWN as far as I’m concerned. Do you want me to transfer some money to you If I give names, all emails, and all correspondence concerning my inquiries about you, and any other information you need? If it’s a substantial amount maybe I can make you some lump payments? I’m pretty sure you’ll keep the amount lower than the judgements you warned me about. At least that will be some relief.
R. Gerry Hawke
Kiwi Farms is a cyberbullying websiterun by Joshua Moon (also known as Joshua Conner Moon and Josh Moon) while he lives with and is financially supported by Candy Potter (also known as Candice Lynn Potter and Candice Potter), a real estate agent for Keller Williams Realty in Pensacola, Florida. Kiwi Farms abuses the disabled, LGBT, other minorities, and highly accomplished people.
Julie Terryberry committed suicide on 29 June 2016 after the malicious cyberbullies of Kiwi Farms created a 193 page thread to mock her. This suicide was seen as an achievement by some of the bullies.
Kiwi Farms is hosted by Frantech Solutions, a company owned by Francisco Dias in Canada. Francisco Dias and Frantech Solutions have refused requests to discontinue hosting Kiwi Farms.
An unprecedented wave of “creepy clowns” is, apparently, sweeping the globe. It is thought to have started in August, in South Carolina, where two clown figures were spotted by children lurking near some woods – raising the concerns of local police. Throughout September the phenomenon spread across North America, and in recent weeks hundreds of clown sightings have been reported in Australia, New Zealand, France and the UK.
Journalists and academic pundits have posed numerous theories about the cause of this troubling phenomenon: marketing ploy, sophisticated enhanced reality game, or a return of a cultural obsession with evil clowns that originated in Stephen King’s novel, It.
But for those of us involved in the business of clowning, the craze – as well as the frenzied internet response that appears only to fan the flames by regurgitating stock images of ghoulish clown faces – is yet another sad reminder of a widespread misunderstanding of what clowns actually are and what they do.
I am not one of those who says they cannot understand what is scary about clowns. As a performer I have experienced my fair share of crying children and awkward adults and know that there is something about clowns (even the least garish-looking ones) that arouses discomfort. But this is nothing new; throughout history clowns have played to our deepest fears of disorder, chaos and wrongness – often for crucial social purposes.
One of the origins of modern day clowning was the Feast of Fools – which was a popular festival in France, during the Middle Ages. Here clownish antics took centre stage in a carnival of excess. Masked hedonism and the perversion of social values were encouraged – but eventually outlawed by the Catholic church. Amateur fool societies called “societies joyeuses” perpetuated the tradition of festive mayhem, often using their mime skills to denounce corrupt officials or other kinds of antisocial behaviour in public displays of humiliation called “charivaris”.
The festival of fools
Native American clowns perform a similar role even today. Believed to possess magical shamanistic powers, they are also known for their use of taboo-breaking humour to expose social hypocrisy. According to anthropologist Ralph Beals, Pueblo clowns were permitted to indulge in “obscene behaviour” and play “fear-inspiring characters” specifically to punish known miscreants.
From the powerful to the humble, everyone was fair game. So even if you were not the target of their punitive pranks, you knew that one day you might be. The clowns – released from the constraints of proper behaviour – became objects of reverence and fear.
It is this freedom to personify wrongness and disorder, typified by the grotesque face of the circus clown, that gives clown impersonators the potential to be “scary”. But this power also gives true clowns the potential to touch on the truths of human existence and show us who we really are.
Charlie Chaplin’s anarchic dance amid the powerful factory machinery in his film Modern Times illustrates that this quality of clowning also exists in Western culture. And if you think that clowning died out with silent film comedy, watch an episode of BBC’s Miranda to see a plethora of classical clown gags and routines being skilfully reimagined for the television format. From Morecambe and Wise to Rowan Atkinson to Sacha Baron Cohen, we see clowns, reinvented for the modern era, winking as they ridicule and satirise our everyday existence.
But perhaps clowns’ powerful influence on society is most clearly seen in the field of social clowning. Hospital clowning, or clown care, has been an expanding global phenomenon since the 1980s. And it is increasingly recognised within the medical profession as having genuine clinical benefits. Likewise, groups such as Clowns Without Borders bring the spirit of laughter and play to areas of the world affected by conflict and disaster, including recent visits to refugee camps in Greece and Calais.
My own research looks at social clowning in Colombia, where clowns have for years been involved in peace and reconciliation efforts. The UN has recently hired a clown artist, Camilo Rodriguez, as a special adviser, and has funded a clown show that aims to engage young people in the peace process – a powerful acknowledgment of the seriousness with which clown work is treated in Colombia.
Professionals not pranksters
Perhaps, then, this craze for scaring people using clown masks is just an echo of the real function of certain clowns as justly feared purveyors of social justice. But even if those responsible are conscious of this, they have missed one vital thing about clowning.
Real clowning works by provoking delight and pleasure while exposing unacknowledged truths about human nature. And hiding behind masks and scaring people with machetes reveals nothing except the cowardice of the perpetrators. These type of acts have nothing to do with clowning.
Real clowns bring the light of laughter to our darkest corners and dance a jig where others fear to tread. And most worryingly for those in the business, this latest wave of crazed clowns devalues a cultural practice which is all about laughing at our own flawed nature. And in today’s world, that is something we need more than ever.
Based on a press release from Edge Hill University.
Kiwi Farms. Kiwi Farms is a website that acts as a Clubhouse for Internet trolling and cyberbullying. Its sysop is Joshua Conner Moon.
News website Heat Street says of Kiwi Farms, “They exist only to watch the world burn.”
The Twitter account for Kiwi Farms resulted in a permanent ban.
Kiwi Farms has been banned by numerous hosting platforms for violating their terms and conditions, including Linode, Gandi.net and Digital Ocean. In 2016 it had its kiwifar.ms domain cancelled and its PayPal account was indefinitely suspended.
Shortly after the death of Batley and Spen’s MP, Jo Cox, I wrote an article noting female colleagues in the Houses of Parliament are suffering online threats, many of which are deeply offensive with sexual undertones. I observed there is a particular kind of person that hates women in authority; this prejudice is not confined to men.
Misogynistic online bullying is not, of course, confined to Members of Parliament. Many women in the public eye, from historian Mary Beard to Caroline Criado Perez, who campaigned for Jane Austen to be on a banknote, to school children have been affected. Bullying of any kind, whether online or offline, is absolutely unacceptable and I completely agree with the Minister for Women and Equalities that there is absolutely no place for misogyny or trolling in our society.
I welcome therefore that the Government has set up the Stop Online Abuse website that offers practical advice, with a focus on LGB&T people, including on social media. This excellent new resource also gives information on how to complain about sexism and bullying on websites, social media sites and in the press and advertising.
It is also important to educate young people against this sort of bullying in the first place, to ensure they are robust and resilient if they come across unwanted images or cyberbullying. A range of websites help children and their parents discuss these issues, and the Government has invested £3.85 million in a second phase of the ‘This is Abuse’ campaign called Disrespect Nobody, which challenges young people to rethink their views on abuse and consent in relationships.
What is illegal offline is illegal online. I welcome recent developments, such as a Twitter director saying he thought the company was doing better on dealing with trolls, but I was glad that the site also recognises more must be done.
Eric Pickles is a British Conservative Party politician and Member of Parliament for Brentwood and Ongar.