Apr 02

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Facebook: The Final Frontier

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Your job, or your password?

With the unemployment rate still high, potential employees are being put through a hiring obstacle course by their prospective employers.  The latest trend is a request for your facebook password.  Not your username, your password.

Why?  According to a recent poll, 95 percent of employers say they use social media sites to ferret out more information about job candidates.  Your social media profile is a goldmine of information for an employer, and many millennials with a savvy understanding of privacy controls are for all intents and purposes…invisible.

That makes it hard to find out the kind of information on the chart below:

If you were asked for your facebook password by a hiring manager, would you give it up?  I asked a number of facebook users, and here’s what they had to say:

“My FB password is a personal matter and should have nothing to do with being employed. I would delete my FB acct before handing out my password to anyone, let alone a stranger. To apply for a job we must give out our SS# and enough other personal data in order for the potential employer to learn about the potential employee. That is enough information for them to determine our credit worthiness, type of person we are, etc.

Somewhere, there has to be a line drawn in the sand that says to an employer, “you can go this far and no farther.” If the gov. won’t draw that line, then we have to draw it for ourselves, regardless of the consequences. While I like FB for keeping in touch with friends, deleting it to gain a job would be a no brainer. There is always email and Twitter and Linkdin, and a host of other social sites available to me–and as always, the good old US Mail. If those seeking jobs stand together, employers will stop asking for information that is none of their business.”

-Sandy Legler Keith, CA

“This is becoming a quite controversial topic…my thing is they shouldn’t be able to ask you, I understand why they want to do it but it is a major security risk, if they want me to show them my facebook page while im there thats fine, but under no circumstances will I give them my password to the page. I feel if the company wants to do that then they dont respect me enough to give me a chance, then why would I want to work with them, I wouldn’t respect them. Also, Facebook lawyers can sue employees who want your facebook password.”

-Danielle Kuka, WI


“If I’m asked ever, that will be the end of the interview. ‘Have a nice day, thank you for your time, and good luck intimidating your other candidates.'”

-Ross Byczek, Paris, France


Whether you give up your password or not, it might be a good idea to do some spring cleaning of your social media profile–especially if you are looking for work.  This video can help…


Facebook, alarmed by this growing trend has directly addressed the matter by changing their usage policy.  Congressmen have even tried to enact new laws to protect citizens, but they were rejected by Republicans.  Even the ACLU has chimed in on the matter.

For now, there are no laws preventing a potential employer from asking for your password.  But if they do, you might want to let them know they could be in for some legal trouble if you actually give it to them.  According to Erin Egan, Chief Privacy Officer at Facebook:

“We don’t think employers should be asking prospective employees to provide their passwords because we don’t think it’s the right thing to do.  But it also may cause problems for the employers that they are not anticipating.  For example, if an employer sees on Facebook that someone is a member of a protected group (e.g. over a certain age, etc.) that employer may open themselves up to claims of discrimination if they don’t hire that person. 


Employers also may not have the proper policies and training for reviewers to handle private information.  If they don’t—and actually, even if they do—the employer may assume liability for the protection of the information they have seen or for knowing what responsibilities may arise based on different types of information (e.g. if the information suggests the commission of a crime).


Facebook takes your privacy seriously.  We’ll take action to protect the privacy and security of our users, whether by engaging policymakers or, where appropriate, by initiating legal action…”

Social media is a great way to connect with friends.  It’s also a great way to spy on people.  Until the government enacts laws to protect your privacy online, you are going to have to depend on yourself in this lawless internet frontier.  Make sure you are using appropriate privacy settings, and don’t post anything online you aren’t comfortable with the whole world knowing…especially your potential new boss.

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Permanent link to this article: http://peterusagi.com/2012/04/02/facebook-the-final-frontier/

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