TV Characters Who Would Fail Social Media Checks

March 29, 2021

Looking for some real-world examples of what might show on a social media screening? Our friends over at Social Intel put together a list of characters who would likely have failed their social media background checks.


Michael Scott | The Office

Michael vacations in Jamaica during one Season 3 episode. Upon Michael’s return, we learn that Jan, his supervisor, was there with him. That alone could violate company policies regarding relationships. To make matters worse, Michael attempts to email a vacation photo to one coworker as proof that Jan was there. Instead, he ends up forwarding a topless photo of Jan to the entire office. This episode aired in 2007 before social media was as mainstream as it is now. However, it’s not difficult to imagine Michael accidentally posting such a photo on his Facebook page. Something like that would be flagged for sexually explicit material.


Kelly Kapoor, The Office

The majority of the characters on The Office are guilty of having said or done something that we would consider to be red flag behavior. In one 2010 episode, Dwight found Kelly and Ryan pouring over her computer and asked what they were doing. The following conversation ensued:

This would be flagged as a demonstration of aggressive online behavior and cyberbullying.


Tom Haverford, Parks and Recreation

Aziz Ansari’s Parks & Rec character, Tom, is a social media enthusiast. He starts every day by “hitting up Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram.” Unfortunately, he accessed his social media while driving. One Parks & Rec episode starts with Tom sitting in a courtroom. An attorney asks him to read the following tweets:

The town of Pawnee is fictional, but it is set in the state of Indiana where typing, reading, or sending emails or text messages is illegal. In this scenario, Tom’s tweets can be considered an admission of illegal activity.


Donna Meagle, Parks and Recreation

During another episode, one member of the Parks & Rec team got the entire department into trouble on Twitter. Donna tweeted, “Hope you like tongue baths, you big, nasty fireman” on the Parks and Rec account instead of her personal account by mistake. The tweet was deleted, but not before a press conference was called for a town discussion.

Donna explains that her personal Twitter account is private, but these tweets would be flagged for sexually explicit language.

We know these are just TV characters on comedy shows meant to entertain us, but some lessons can be learned from them all the same. There are countless examples of real employees who have been fired due to their social media posts. In fact, we find that 10% of our social media hiring reports come back with red flags, and those are usually conducted after a candidate has been interviewed.

Originally written by Caitlin Rogers over at Social Intel.