An Experiment in Hiring Discrimination via Online Social Networks
Carnegie Mellon University
Monday, November 25, 2013
NSF Stafford I, Room 110
Anecdotal evidence and self-report surveys suggest that U.S. firms are using Web 2.0 and social networking sites to seek information about prospective hires. However, little is known about how the information they find online actually influences their hiring decisions. We present two controlled experiments of the impact that information posted on a popular social networking site by job applicants can have on employers' hiring behavior. In two studies (a survey experiment and a field experiment) we measure the ratio of callbacks that different job applicants receive as function of their personal traits. The experiments (a survey experiment and a field experiment) focus on sensitive traits that are either unlawful or risky for U.S. employers to enquire about during interviews, but which can be inferred from applicants' online presences. Both the results from the survey experiments and those from the field experiment provide evidence of potential hiring discrimination via social networking sites.
Speaker Alessandro Acquisti is an associate professor at the Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and the co-director of CMU Center for Behavioral and Decision Research. He investigates the economics of privacy. His studies have spearheaded the application of behavioral economics to the analysis of privacy and information security decision making, and the analysis of privacy and disclosure behavior in online social networks. Alessandro has been the recipient of the PET Award for Outstanding Research in Privacy Enhancing Technologies, the IBM Best Academic Privacy Faculty Award, multiple Best Paper awards, and the Heinz College School of Information's Teaching Excellence Award. He has testified before the U.S. Senate and House committees on issues
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