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What your Facebook feed can tell landlords and insurance companies

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Theo Thimou

Imagine if a financial services company tracked your Facebook feed and made decisions about what kind of products it would offer you and at what rate—all based on the kind of language you used online and the kind of pictures you posted.

That’s exactly the situation we’ve found ourselves in over the past few years. Here’s a look at who is tracking what…

Insurers

When you’re in a fender bender, what’s the one thing you shouldn’t do post-accident? Not surprisingly, it involves social media! According to the blog NextAdvisor, insurance adjusters investigating your claim are going to be all over social media and the search engines to develop a digital dossier on you.

You may have heard about this with people who were faking long-term disability and then got caught because pictures of them doing crazy athletic things surface online. Now it’s come to auto insurance.

Sometimes the result is great as fraud rings are busted when adjusters see the victim and the supposed guilty party being good buddies on social media. What you post on social media will be used against you in any claim or court case!

Meanwhile, Edmunds.com says that insurers are now trying to build a dossier of what kind of driver you are based on videos and pictures they find on your social media profiles when you file a claim.

If you show a photo of yourself at a bar parking lot, they’ll cast aspersions and try to say that you may have been tipsy because you like going to bars. Insurers don’t want to pay, right? So they want to be extremely aggressive with the reviews.

There’s a new report out about a British insurer that wants to monitor your Facebook page to help set your premiums. It’s likely Facebook will push back on this initiative because it’s in direct violation of the social media giant’s own rules.

But the criteria the U.K. insurer says it’s looking at is sure to raise a few eyebrows. Among the metrics they’re analyzing are the use of exclamation points in your posts and even the sentence structure.

According to reports, people who use a lot of exclamation points could be bad drivers, while those who have short and concise sentences are more likely to be good drivers!

Landlords

For years, we’ve heard about landlords who reportedly check out would-be tenants on their Facebook pages, according to The Chicago Tribune.

Facebook and social media have come up again and again with reports of people losing job offers or having their college applications declined based on what’s on their Facebook page.

The reality is people can use social media to make judgments that draw a wider picture than just a transcript, resume, application or interview alone. Simply put, people can use social media as way to say “yes” or “no” to you.

If a landlord sees somebody partying it up big time, they may not rent to that person. The pictures you have on your account can create an image of you that’s not necessarily flattering for somebody looking to do business with you.

Now, there is a real legal issue here: Landlords are opening themselves up to potential lawsuits over various Fair Housing laws and discrimination issues if they engage in this practice. Because if you as a landlord go look at the Facebook page of a potential tenant, you know a lot more about them than by law you’re supposed to know.

Landlords are not telling tenants that what they saw on your Facebook page is preventing them from renting to you, but behind the curtain that is potentially what’s going on.

The thing you need to know is that in so many ways, what is posted by you and about you can come back to help you or hurt you. Your reputation follows you in ways it never did before the era of Facebook.

For more information follow this link, clarkhoward.com

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