While the old adage, “Always assume positive intent” may cover all manner of sins, when it comes to people’s use of social media, sometimes you’ve got to wonder. And if a new survey is any indicator, social media users also have thought twice.

According to a new survey from FindLaw.com, more than 29 percent of young social media users think something they posted could come back to haunt them.

This same fear that a photo, comment or other personal information posted to social media could someday cause a prospective employer to turn them down for a job, or a current employer to fire them, has led another 21 percent of social media users to take down content from a site.

The survey focused on social media users between the ages of 18 and 34 and covered Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and other popular social media.

But young social media users aren’t always so careless – 82 percent reported that they pay at least some attention to their privacy settings, with only six percent responding that they pay no attention and only use default settings when using social media.

FindLaw.com offers some suggestions when it comes to managing social media:

  • Think before you post: Always assume that your boss or a prospective employer could someday see that photo or comment. Always err on the side of safety and good judgment.
  • Check your privacy settings: Check settings frequently, take your time and be thorough. Always assume that the default settings are biased towards revealing information unless you change them to more private settings.
  • Limit personal information: Be aware of what personal information you are entering when initially registering. Many details of personal information are not required
  • If you believe you were wrongfully terminated, seek legal help: Although many individuals who are terminated from their job feel their termination was “wrongful,” the legal definition of wrongful termination is limited to only those circumstances where an employee was fired for illegal reasons.

But perhaps Stephanie Rahlfs, an attorney-editor with FindLaw.com, has the best advice: “It’s best to assume that anything that you post could live on the Internet forever, and to think accordingly before hitting the ‘Post’ button.”

Free information on wrongful terminations and directories for finding an attorney specializing in employment law can be found at the FindLaw Employment Law Center

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