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Would you give up your Facebook password for a job?

posted 3/21/2012 8:42:08 PM |
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Want job? Give up Facebook password

Some employers now want access to applicants’ social-media accounts

SEATTLE — When Justin Bassett interviewed for a job, he expected the usual questions about experience and references. So he was astonished when the interviewer asked for something else: his Facebook username and password.

Bassett, a New York City statistician, had just finished answering a few character questions when the interviewer turned to her computer to search for his Facebook page. But she couldn’t see his private profile. She turned back and asked him to hand over his login information.

Bassett refused and withdrew his application, saying he didn’t want to work for a company that would seek such personal information.

But other job candidates are confronting the same question from prospective employers, and some cannot afford to say no.

In trying to vet applicants, some companies and government agencies are going beyond glancing at a person’s social-networking profiles and instead are asking to log in as the user to have a look around.

“It’s akin to requiring someone’s house keys,” said Orin Kerr, a George Washington University law professor and former federal prosecutor who calls it “an egregious privacy violation.”

Questions have been raised about the legality of the practice, which is also the focus of proposed legislation in Illinois and Maryland that would forbid public agencies from asking for access to social networks.

Since the rise of social networking, it has become common for managers to review publicly available Facebook profiles, Twitter accounts and other sites to learn more about job candidates. But many users, especially on Facebook, have their profiles set to private, making them available only to selected people or certain networks.

Companies that don’t ask for passwords have taken other steps — such as asking applicants to “ friend” human-resource managers or to log in to a company computer during an interview to give the company access.

Once employed, some workers have been required to sign nondisparagement agreements that ban them from making negative comments about an employer on social media.

Asking for a candidate’s password is more prevalent among public agencies, especially those seeking to fill law-enforcement positions such as police officers or 911 dispatchers.

In 2010, Robert Collins was returning to his job as a correctional officer at the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services after taking a leave after his mother’s death. During a reinstatement interview, he was asked for his login and password, purportedly so that the agency could check for gang affiliations.

He was stunned by the request but complied. “I needed my job to feed my family. I had to,” he said.

After the ACLU complained about the practice, the agency amended its policy, asking instead for job applicants to log in during interviews.

“To me, that’s still invasive,” said Collins, whose case inspired Maryland’s legislation.

Until last year, the city of Bozeman, Mont., had a long-standing policy of asking job applicants for passwords to their email addresses, social-networking websites and other online accounts.

In Spotsylvania County, Va., the sheriff’s office asks applicants to “friend” background investigators when seeking jobs at the 911 dispatch center or in law enforcement.

“In the past, we’ve talked to friends and neighbors, but a lot of times, we found that applicants interact more through social-media sites than they do with real friends,” said sheriff’s Capt. Mike Harvey. “Their virtual friends will know more about them than a person living 30 yards away from them.”

Story link

The Columbus Dispatch

No, I don't believe they should. It's crossing the line and so out-of-bounds!

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Mar 21 @ 10:39PM  
I caught this story on the news earlier, and hell no I would not give my facebook password to a prospective employer! That is going TOO FAR! Our local news station had a link for viewers to respond to this, and one of the responses I remember went something like this:

"Sure, I'll give them the password to my facebook page as long as they give me their password to their bank accounts."

Seriously though? Where do they think they have a right to ask for that kind of information?

Mar 21 @ 10:45PM  

Mar 22 @ 10:10AM  
Depends on how bad I really need a paycheck. If I was in the position that I had to provide for others, I'd take the shit bosses/employers hand out.

If not, I'd ask the interviewer if they wanted a knuckle sandwich. Perhaps just whoop their ass.

There are lines in society, this crosses it.

Mar 22 @ 12:57PM  
Would you give up your Facebook password for a job?

Sure, if I really want the job! Then at home, jot down my friends list, delete my account and open a new one! It's none of their business and crosses the line between privacy and unauthorized snooping!


Mar 23 @ 5:20AM  
What facebook account?

Restrict it to family and friends, don't put your pic on it and they don't know it's yours.

I don't know why SOME companies think they have the right to our personal communications, they can't access our mail or monitor our home phone conversations.

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Would you give up your Facebook password for a job?