Social media sites like Facebook are great for networking and keeping in touch with people everywhere. But when it comes to companies hiring and firing employees, Facebook has become the new background check.

Tom Hoog, chairman of the Insight Committee within George Mason University’s communication department, always checks potential employees’ Facebook profiles before hiring them.

“[Inappropriate content is] going to need a strong explanation to give them a fair opportunity,” said Hoog, a former CEO of Hill & Knowlton. “I often ask [potential employees] what they were thinking at the time.”

While some job seekers feel this violates their rights to privacy, others think it is OK.

“I think it’s fair for employers to look on Facebook,” said Christine Weithman, freshman business management major. “Depending on where you work, clients or customers could look at your Facebook [profile] and see what is on it, so it is important for it to be appropriate.”

While some employers use Facebook to find incriminating information on possible employees, others use it as a proactive hiring tool.

“I would consider Facebook to be primarily for social purposes,” said Lauren Hill, lead talent recruiter at Strayer University. “I do sometimes look at my Facebook network to see if anyone I know would be a good match for any of the positions that I am working on. I primarily use LinkedIn to be for networking purposes.”

Recently, a first-grade teacher in New Jersey was suspended after calling her students “disengaged, lazy whiners” on her Facebook profile. These types of stories are occurring more often and bosses are taking employees’ online presence more seriously.

“I think an employee being suspended or fired can be fair if the photo or status was something of an extremely inappropriate post and could affect the future of the company,” Weithman said.

Although many students are worried of future employers’ concern with their Facebook profiles, some are not, like junior communications major Kevin Navarrete.

“It mostly depends on your line of work,” Navarrete said. “I’m a firm believer in freedom of speech. If I can’t throw an F-bomb here and there, then what is free speech?”