Can an insurance company watch your social media? The short answer is yes.
This article is part of our Ultimate Guide to Long-term Disability Benefits.
Insurance companies use a number of tools to investigate people receiving disability benefits, and it is now standard practice for them to watch you on Facebook or on other social media websites, including Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs, etc.
If the insurance company can access your profile, they will print off copies of your profile pages, including any photos, comments, or pages that describe your interests or activities. They will compare this information with what you wrote on your insurance forms, or told to them, or to your doctors, to try to find any inconsistencies.
I have seen insurance companies use the frequency of someones posts on Facebook to measure how often the person was online, and then use this as evidence that you could work at computer for a certain number of hours per day.
The insurance company is not breaching your privacy if you have made your Facebook profile, or other social media profile, publicly available to anyone. If it make you uneasy to know the insurance company is watching you, then change the privacy settings to only allow friends and family to view your profile.
You should continue to use Facebook and other social media websites, but just use good judgement. Some people say things about themselves online that are not true. If you do this, it might be used against you. Keep in mind that even if your Facebook profile is private, the insurance company may still gain access to your information in the context of a lawsuit. Courts in Canada now routinely issue court orders directing people to produce parts of their Facebook profiles as part of the document disclosure to the insurance company.