In the Clear? New app promises to clean up regrettable social media posts

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A new app claims to help social media users avoid online embarrassment

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Ever post something you later regretted?  A new app, called Clear, promises to help users avoid online embarrassment by flagging any negative social media posts.

According to the Clear website, the app analyzes posts for questionable content using its own algorithms as well as the IBM Watson® supercomputer.

Users can then immediately delete the flagged posts through the app, without having to scroll through pages of old posts.

While the app is marketed to any social media user, its greatest appeal seems to be among millenials.  Many have been tweeting and posting status updates since they were teenagers.

Now, they’re in the workforce, where a growing number of employers are turning to social media to research job candidates.

In fact, a 2014 Career Builder study found more than half of these employers discovered online content that caused them not to hire the applicant.

Denise DeRosa with the Family Online Safety Institute says Clear is, “certainly an interesting app,” but she questions its ultimate effectiveness.

“If I post a photo today and realize tomorrow I want to take it down, in that time frame somebody else… could have saved that photo,” she points out.

The internet is full of instances where a saved photo or tweet quickly went viral, destroying reputations and – in some cases – even careers.

The creator of Clear is no stranger to the professional harm that can occur through social media.  Ethan Czahor lost his job as Chief Technology Officer for Jeb Bush when a series of controversial tweets from his past were unearthed.

On the Clear website he says, “I created Clear to make sure situations like mine never happen to anyone ever again.”

While DeRosa thinks Clear may be helpful in identifying patterns of behavior that should change, she does not believe it’s a magic eraser.  She says she’d like to see social media users exhibit good behavior from the start rather than try to clear up any regrettable posts later.

To that end, the Family Online Safety Institute has posted a wealth of information to help parents teach their children about appropriate social media use.

These resources are included as part of FOSI’s Good Digital Parenting guide.