Social media

Today, when reviewing a set of sits that fit the criteria of those I seek, I came upon something I’ve never seen before. The homeowner was asking to access the sitters’ social media accounts to “confirm you’re a real person.”

I’m not interested in this sit due to this invasion of a sitter’s privacy, but why would a HO need this when TH does background checks? Is this type of request even permitted on the platform?

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Maybe they don’t know that sitters are required to have their IDs verified.

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Did they include their social media profiles in their listing? So Sitters/Guests know they are real people? HO’s don’t even have background checks (which they should) nor are they required to include image of themselves (which Sitters/Guests are).


Wow, an invasion of a sitter’s privacy… really? You’re going into someone’s home - the ultimate ‘invasion of privacy’. Yes, I realize that’s by invitation but when I think about what the homeowner has to lose vs. what a sitter has to lose I’m just blown away that sharing something that is quasi-public anyway is a concern.

I’ve been on both sides of the fence, full time sitter for 5+ years and never balked at being asked for socials. As a homeowner and currently looking for only my second sitter ever I’d just keep on looking if someone told me they wouldn’t share something as basic as that. In a world full of disinformation I can tall a lot more about a person by perusing their online profile for a few minutes than I can by seeing a checkmark by ID Verified and Criminal background check.


Best I don’t apply then as I don’t have any socials! :thinking:


In the THS sitter profile, there is the possibility to provide one’s profile on LinkedIn and/or on AirBnb. I believe that helped me, certainly with getting my first sit.

In my applications, I always give my full name, also to present myself as a real person. Owners can google me if they are so inclined.

When I am hosting couchsurfers on BeWelcome etc, I want to know their names, who they are. The stakes are much higher for a host on THS: they leave their home and their pets in the hands of people they never met.


No offense and to each their own. But for me that would be a no-go unless you were able (and willing) to share a really good reason why. I invite you to pop over to the THS Background Check Policy and take a look at it. It’s nebulous at best, checking against ‘… approximately 60 crime categories’. What are those categories? I can’t seem to find that info. I don’t care if you have a speeding ticket on your record, I do care if you were perhaps convicted of domestic abuse.

THS also disavows any liability related to these background checks - We do not provide and are not responsible or liable in any manner for the checks, and we do not endorse or make any representations or warranties regarding the reliability of such Criminal Background Checks or the accuracy, timeliness or completeness of any information in the Criminal Background Checks. We do not independently verify information in the Criminal Background Checks.

Finally, the checks themselves have a LOT of limitations. Nothing older than 7 years from conviction; nothing that wasn’t in the database when the check was run so if a sitter with a 1 year history was convicted of a felony 3 months after the background was run they’d still have the green check mark by my reading; Not all arrest logs and records, conviction and correction records, s#x offender registries and motor vehicle records are available in all jurisdictions. In many jurisdictions there is a delay before arrest logs and records, conviction and correction records, s#x offender registries and motor vehicle records are included in Background Checks. Lots and lots and lots of cracks for things to potentially fall through.

There’s more but in summary, there are soooo many ways that little green check mark may not be all that it seems. And if I have the choice between a few candidates who have a rich online history (yes, it can be faked) vs. one who has no digital footprint, I know what applicants I’m going to be considering.

That is absolutely your perogative but having worked in areas of knowledge, holding the highest levels of national security I value my personal security/data more than my need to be accepted for a sit, each to their own :woman_shrugging:


Oh dear, what invasion? what privacy???
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I’m with you on this one. Social media is not required for jobs or anything else, even if they ask. It’s not a “given” that people even have it, much less that they use it in a way that boosts their job profile or sitter profile.

There are so many different ways to use it—some people put memes, breakfast photos, some have art accounts. Personally I use it for creative project promo, something I consider a bit separate from my day to day normal life. People should have the freedom to post whatever they want without worrying about how it affects their “marketability” in some niche capitalist sense. It is not always an exact reflection of a person and they have a right to any personal life they want, and any relationship with social media they want.

Anyone who demanded my social media for a job or sit would raise a red flag for me, but I am okay with it as a conversation or request.


The irony of trying to use social media to see if something is real.
:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:


Interesting they referenced social media as a means to confirm identity instead of a video chat to see a live human person.


I am completely with you (obviously). I was a software engineers, part of the time dealing with security. When TH asked us to disclose our social security numbers for a background check, I actually cancelled my account for several years. I had absolutely no intention of ever coming back. I wanted them to find another way to run a background check (it’s usually done through fingerprinting and I could have happily had the FBI done a screen and send it to them).

I eventually caved and I’m not about to further disclose information just for a petsit. :rofl:

Amongst other things, I have a very unique last name. Only four people in the world have it…my kids, my ex-husband and I. The last thing in the world I’m going to allow a homeowner to do is find where my kids are, not to mention my ex-husband. Also, opening up my social media (for anyone to see my Facebook, they’d have to be my friend) would open up my friends as well. Many of my friends are over the age of 80, still don’t have their own security locked down and accept friend requests from people they’re already friends with…you get the idea. Opening up my social media is not just a violation of MY privacy but it is of the people in my life.

There is NO WAY I’m exposing them to some random homeowner who has had no checks at all done on them AND whom I’ve never met.

I am not new to petsitting. I have ample information in my profile and those that I link in messages I send (and in my profile). They don’t need my social media which tells them nothing about how I care for pets or a home.

If a homeowner wants to ask a specific person for a social media account because they have no history with TH but they still like them, that’s a different matter. However, having that as a requirement for application is completely unreasonable. Either these folks don’t know how to evaluate sitters or they’re collecting the information for another reason.


and you have every right to include what you want personally. To have it as a requirement is completely different. I do actually have a link to my AirBnB profile, but that’s MY choice.

If over 100 reviews there, plus my reviews and references on TH and other petsitting platforms (information I give to prospects) isn’t enough, reading my condolences to friends, about my friend’s battle with cancer, my birthday greetings to my kids (they most definitely do NOT need my children’s DOB along with their names and their mother’s maiden name), etc. etc. is certainly not going to make a difference for choosing me as a sitter.

My Facebook is locked down for a reason and I’m not opening it to a stranger because they don’t know how to vet sitters.


I’ve been background checked, had my identity verified, have many reviews and am available to chat via video with hosts. I also voluntarily share my LinkedIn profile, which offers my full name and much more. My THS profile also is robust with info and photos. And hosts get my contact info as soon as we connect to discuss a sit.

If all that’s not enough, oh well.

I suggest avoiding hosts who are too anxious or precious about their sits and pets. They don’t buy into the ethos of THS and are more likely to become pains or create problems than normal hosts on THS. And there’s no need to put up with that, especially when there are more sitters than sits.

Personally, I’d rather not sit at all than sit for such hosts.


I would find it weird if someone did not want to tell me their name.

I have never had someone insist on my last name. You can find it weird if you’d like. When my ex and I decided on the name we did, we had no idea where technology would be now. I don’t use my last name on social media either, btw, so this desire to “confirm I’m real” based upon my social media would cause more problems, not help a homeowner feel more at ease.

You raise a good point. Nervous hosts tend to be a nightmare. Honestly, I rarely accept sits from inexperienced hosts at all at this point anyway. I do, on occasion, make exceptions. This request was definitely the sign of an inexperienced host and, you’re right. They seem nervous. The stay would likely be unpleasant.


@trottter If you genuinely need help understanding why people might not want to share their social media, here’s a list of possibilities. You might not have these concerns, but they may help you understand why someone else may. Some of these wouldn’t have occurred to me prior to reading these boards.

  1. For many women, there is a learned cautiousness about just handing out their personal information. If you don’t understand the full scope of why, start asking women you know if they have any negative stories regarding social media behavior due to gender.
  2. My Linkedin account was hacked & stolen last year. It took two months and the assistance of BBB of Silicon Valley to get it back. The hacker had the complete ability to message or delete my contact list. My social media is no longer public. Searching my name on a browser will not pull up my socials, so I’m not sending it to someone I don’t know.
  3. Linkedin is a professional account. Sitter/Guests aren’t being paid, so access to their employment history is moot.
  4. There was a forum post last year by a Sitter/Guest who had her employer contacted by a HO doing their own version of a background check. The OP of the post couldn’t figure out how they knew who her employer was. I pointed out she likely had her Linkedin account linked to her THS profile. Bingo. Luckily, the employer was looking out for the employee and let her know what was happening. Besides the fact this was absolutely boundary crossing, it could jeopardize one’s employment. In the U.S., you can be fired without cause, so behavior like that from an HO could have a disastrous outcome.
  5. Another forum post by an HO looking for a Sitter/Guest included a link to their listing. The HO described a past Sitter/Guest in negative terms and accused her of negligence. The Sitter/Guest could be found in their link since they had left her a review, which didn’t match what they were stating about her in the forum. Well, the Sitter/Guest had her Linkedin account in her THS profile. So, this young woman, just starting her career, was unknowingly being lambasted on these forums by the HO, and anyone reading the post had access to her professional LinkedIn account. Although it seemed to violate the policies of these forums, the moderators would do nothing to protect the individual.
  6. There have been forum posts of HO’s requesting to friend Sitters/Guests. The Sitters/Guests complained it put them in an uncomfortable position.

The whole wanting to ‘confirm that the sitter is a real person" sounds suspicious. As others have mentioned, a simple video chat could confirm that. The real reason could be that the homeowner wants to look at sitters’ social media to see their conduct, how they express their ideas, and interactions with each other.