Incorporating Social Media into Federal Background Investigations

Hearing Date: May 13, 2016 9:00 am 2154 Rayburn House Office Building

0513 Social Media


  • To better understand why social media information is not currently used in conducting background investigations.
  • To learn what pilot programs have found to date, and what plans are underway to responsibly include social media information in the future.


  • Federal agencies do not currently make use of social media data in the background investigations process, nor do they inquire about applicants’ online identities.
  • The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 contained a measure mandating the Office of the Director of National Intelligence direct federal agencies to adopt a personnel security program integrating social media information by the end of 2020.
    • OPM announced a pilot program to test its ability to automatically track public social media postings of people applying for security clearances.


Witnesses and testimonies

Name Title Organization Panel Document
Mr. William Evanina Director of National Counterintelligence and Security Center Office of the Director of National Intelligence Document
Ms. Beth Cobert Acting Director U.S. Office of Personnel Management Document
Mr. Tony Scott U.S. Chief Information Officer U.S. Office of Management and Budget Document