Forgot To Think Before You Tweet? This App Can Help

Sometimes you need a social media self-destruct button.

You used to be able to control the parts of your past an employer got to see. You strolled into an interview with a few pieces of paper -- a resume and a cover letter, perhaps a transcript -- and that was the version of you that was up for the job.

Nowadays prospective employers can get a much more revealing look at your past through social media like Twitter and Facebook. With a few quick clicks, they have access to things they probably don't want to see and you don't want them to see.


That's where Clear comes in. This new app scans all your past posts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and flags the ones that could potentially be offensive or inappropriate. You can then use Clear to delete the offending posts.

The program searches posts for certain keywords, including profanity and potential hot-button words like "gay," "Americans" and "black." There's also a secondary layer of analysis and algorithms that target negative messages. Clear's system isn't perfect yet -- sometimes it flags perfectly harmless posts -- but it operates on the whole "better safe than sorry" principle.

"The most challenging part of this is determining which tweets are actually offensive, and that’s something that will take a while to get really good at,” Ethan Czahor, Clear's creator, told Time.

Social media

Czahor knows the importance of having a pristine stream of posts. The 31-year-old resigned as chief technology officer for Jeb Bush's presidential exploratory committee just days after getting the job when some of his problematic old tweets and blog posts surfaced.

"This could happen to anyone in any field -- it doesn't have to be politics," Czahor told Time. "Every millennial is now entering the workforce, and maybe even a senior position, and everything that they've said online for the last 10 years is still there, and that’s a new thing for this generation."

Czahor eventually hopes to expand the app to be able to scan emails and search results.

Of course, even if Clear identifies a dicey post and the user deletes it, it could still exist elsewhere on the web. (That happened to Czahor himself when 45 deleted tweets were uncovered after his hiring.) Apps like Clear are a helpful service, but it's still important to think before you tweet.