Kevin Hart tweet fallout: What does your social media history reveal?

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What can be done to protect or clean your online reputation? (Shutterstock photo)

Now that the Oscars are looking for a new host after a string of homophobic tweets made comedian Kevin Hart between 2009 and 2011, questions are being asked over our own online presence. Is anyone exempt from the consequences? What can be done to protect or clean your online reputation?

Tim Redmond, a media studies teacher at the University of San Francisco, says those who make inappropriate comments on social media usually face negative repercussions.

RELATED: Kevin Hart steps down as 2019 Oscars host amid backlash over anti-gay tweets

"It's not as though anyone can look around and say I didn't know better. He said some really dumb things, some really homophobic things that were dangerous and never really apologized."

Instead of apologizing, Hart made a post on Instagram, explaining his decision to step down from hosting the awards show. Redmond says there is one person, who perplexingly enough has been immune from the consequences of his tweeting.

"How our president of the United States gets away with it will be one of the greatest questions for historians in our era!"



But what about us non-celebrities? What are we supposed to do to clean up our digital footprint?

There are companies that'll help you clean up your social past, like Patrick Ambron's Brand Yourself. He went on the show Shark Tank back in 2015. Back then he had just 10 employees and now has over 100. His company has performed more than a million scans of people's online history, showing the need for this kind of service.

"Online screening has just become so pervasive. 70 percent of employers are doing it and half of colleges, no matter what industry you're in, even if it's entertainment."

RELATED: 'Roseanne' canceled by ABC after Barr tweet on Valerie Jarrett

What better way to test of the service than to have my own social media channels scrubbed and cleaned. Full disclosure, the idea of someone digging into every single thing I've posted on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook was a little nerve-wracking.

"The good news is you don't have anything I would consider scandalous... however..." Patrick says with a smile. We'll get more to that in a moment.

According to Brand Yourself there is a list of red flags their software scans for. These are popular words, phrases and images that employers and schools are looking for.

"They're looking for things that show bigoted behavior. Sexism. Homophobia, racism and criminal behavior. They're looking for excessive alcohol or illegal drug use. Anything sexually explicit."

Turns out, my profile did reveal plenty of red flags!

Patrick glances down at his computer screen.

"I'm looking at a tweet of you talking about being in a cloud of marijuana smoke...near a bus full of drunk partiers. But upon further inspection, none of them were really scandalous because you're covering different types of stories."

In the end, it's all about context.

Patrick says the one thing he recommends, no matter how careful you are about what you post online, is making sure your settings don't allow others to tag you in photos. He says this can be detrimental if you're at a party and someone unknowingly tags you in an image.

Brand Yourself offers free preliminary scans of social media with various add-ons at additional cost. More information can be found here.
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