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Prospective employers want facebook passwords


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* I'm intentionally putting this in the Lounge as opposed to News/Sport because this is a better place for discussion/debate *


There is a developing trend that when people go to prospective employers (in the U.S. at least) for an interview, they are asked to give up their facebook password if their account settings are such that their account cannot be viewed publicly. I suppose the purpose is that prospective employers want to weed out potentially unsavory individuals during the interview process. I'd like to hear your thoughts on this.


Here's some recent developments:





Facebook Protection Amendment Voted Down In House

Posted: 03/27/2012 8:36 pm Updated: 03/29/2012 10:18 am


WASHINGTON -- House Republicans blocked a measure Tuesday night that would have let the Federal Communications Commission prevent employers from forcing workers to reveal their Facebook passwords.


Democrats offered the legislation as part of bill to slap new restrictions on FCC rules after a string of reports about employers insisting on access to social media accounts -- a practice that some senators already want investigated by the Justice Department.


"It only makes sense because those that are using these kinds of social media have an expectation of privacy," said Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.), offering the Democratic motion on the House floor. "They have an expectation that their right to free speech or their right to free religion will be respected when they use these social media outlets."


He added that "if an employer wants to pose as or impersonate the individual who had to turn over their confidential password, that employer, I think, will be able to reach into personal, private information of the user... or of the person who's communicating with them."


"If you are a Facebook user, you should never have to share your password," Perlmutter said.


The measure failed, 184 to 236, with one Republican voting for it.


Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, argued that the Democratic provision did not help.


"You don't protect the consumer," Walden said. "And there are many of us who after this debate concludes and moves on, would be happy to work with you on legislation because I think this is a real issue that we all share, and that is protecting privacy. This doesn't do that."


Walden also referred to the time-lapse between when the FCC writes a rule and when it is published. "In fact, you could open the door where they (the FCC) could allow employers and licensees to go after your stuff and you wouldn't know until they published the rule," he said.



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There is a developing trend that when people go to prospective employers (in the U.S. at least) for an interview, they are asked to give up their facebook password if their account settings are such that their account cannot be viewed publicly.


What? That's insane!

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That's insane and scary. I hope no one will ask me that in a few years when I start searching for a job. I don't know how I would react. I guess it would depend on the risk I would be taking. I mean, if the economy is bad, if there's a lot of unemployment, I'd probably think twice.

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It's wrong, it's like asking for the password to your email account or something.


Also some people use the same password for different things so the employer might get access to other information too.


I'm sure some employers do it and as someone else mentioned, they can often get away with it because people desperately need a job. Some employers would probably still do it even if it's illegal. I once worked somewhere that treated their staff really badly (they didn't pay minimum wage, docked people's pay, sacked people for no good reason) yet hardly anyone ever complained about it because they were scared that they might lose their job.

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I had no idea that this happened.


I understand the need to be sure that your new employee is reliable and is who they say there are, but this completely crosses the line. Facebook (for many people) contains incredibly private conversations and interactions with people they trust. Demanding to have access to this is ridiculous.


And I absolutely think there should be ramifications for any employers who do this.

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I guess that could be remedied easily; don't have a Facebook or don't make it so easy for your employer to look you up (use a variation of your name or something).

I know that some colleges look you up to see if you're a good person or something, but not something invading this level of privacy.

I don't understand what this will achieve.

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Terrible that employers are doing this. I understand their need to screen their applicants for suitability but this really crosses the line. I mean, once you hand that password over, your account could easily be abused... and if your password for FB is the same as other accounts on the internets (as is often the case) that's not really secure too.

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Password? I'd never give that out. I have an amazing password for fb, no one will ever know it.


And that's a huge invasion of privacy. Creep the profiles all you want, but the employers actually having access to your personal information on facebook is ridiculous.

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The idea of giving someone your password is ridiculous D; It's a reasonable request to see someone's page, but demanding access to it is not right.


The sad thing is a lot of these people would have been so desperate for work due to the awful employment rates in some parts of the US they would have just caved in and given their passwords out. So these employers were manipulating the situation to get unreasonable amounts of information from them.

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Well here's my rambling train of thought...


When I first heard about this, I thought the prospective employers were just asking the interveiwees to log on to their account during the interview. I didn't think they were actually asking for the password. That crosses the line.


It's not surprising to me that employers would do research in social media. In the past, before the person came to the interview, all the company had to go by was what was on the resume. Researching social media may give them a little better chance to get an idea of who the person is before they walk into the interview. I don't see anything wrong with that, per say. Most places do a background check of all sorts of other stuff, including criminal records and checking your credit history, so this would just be an additional piece to the puzzle.


It's hard to know exactly what these employers are looking for. Are they looking to see whether someone spends half their day on facebook making random posts (and therefore would waste company time online)? Possibly. Or maybe they are looking for evidence of lude behavior. Or maybe they want to see if the person has complained about previous employers in their posts: "omg my boss is so awful", "I hate this place get me out of here", "coworkers suck", "customers suck", etc. (Side comment... I'm always amused when people do that on a regular basis on facebook and twitter particularly when their accounts are public; helllooooo your boss or coworkers can see that. Nice way to risk losing your job, bumhug. Other people would gladly have your job.)


If I was being interviewed, personally I wouldn't mind logging in during the interview. I have nothing to hide. However, if they ask for my password I would refuse; that's going too far. Not only is it an invasion of privacy, but (I think) facebook explicitly tells you not to share your password when you create your account. And what if they try to log on to your account later on, and you are already logged on? Or vice versa? That will probably just flag your account with the facebook peeps and they might suspend your account. And even if you don't have anything "bad" on your wall or in photos/videos, there's still the issue of your private messages. No no no no no.


And the likely evolution of this will be employers asking for the password during the interview not because they actually want it, but to see what your response is. There are employers who would want the type of strong person who is not afraid to stand up for themselves and would want the person to say "absolutely not". So in that case, somebody thinking that giving the employer the password would make them have a leg up on the competition could actually be doing themselves harm.

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