Have you heard about employers requesting job applicants to give them their facebook sign on information and passwords? This is one of the latest facebook stories on the the net lately. Employers are requesting their applicants to turn over their passwords during the hiring process.
Remember the good old days when all you had to worry about was what potential employers might find in a Google search? Now, some employers are asking for the keys to job applicants’ virtual clubhouse so they can click around and get a better look. http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-employers-seek-your-access-to-facebook-20120320,0,1581508.story
It just seems crazy to me that job applicants are taking a stronger stand against this gross invasion of privacy. The fact that there is even a debate about whether this is ethical is surprising to me.
It seems to me that if the applicant’s facebook profile is private, then employers have no business digging around in their personal information.
If an employer asked an applicant for a copy to the keys to their house so that they could secretly go in and rummage around in their underwear drawer, it would be a huge controversy. How is this any different?
If the private information that I share with a few close friends and family on my private facebook page even relevant to an employer?
The reality is that requesting for an applicant’s personal password information has some questionable legalities as it is:
Entering a social networking site in violation of the terms of service, however, is regarded by the Department of Justice as a federal crime. During recent congressional testimony, though, the agency said such violations would not be prosecuted. http://www.latimes.com/business/technology/la-fi-tn-employers-seek-your-access-to-facebook-20120320,0,1581508.story
Of course, I understand that the practicality of prosecuting such a federal crime is unfeasible. There simply isn’t enough resources to go after every secret login to facebook.
The fact that employers take advantage of the lack of government resources to prosecute the crime doesn’t make it any less criminal. The reality is that the employers are saying they know it is a crime and they are going to break the law because nobody is minding the house.
But the only way that they are able to do this is that job applicants aren’t taking a hard stance on this issue. Perhaps they don’t feel like giving up their facebook password is as gross a privacy violation as giving up their house keys. Perhaps they are desperate to get a job. Nonetheless, the few applicants that are willing to give up their passwords in order to get a job are encouraging employers to ask for such information.
Just think, employers are prohibited by law from profiling in their hiring process. They can’t consider race, religion, sexuality, or any pre-existing medical condition. What else could they possibly find in your facebook page that is not a violation of the anti-discrimination laws. Are they looking into your choice of friends? Your relationships? Which websites you visit? What organizations that you like?
How does any of that reflect on your future job performance?
Next time an employer asks for your facebook password ask them what information they are seeking.
It seems to me that there is nothing in your private facebook profile that will tell them about your future job performance.
Take a stand.
Ask yourself this:
If you wouldn’t turn over your housekeys to a potential employer, why would you turn over your private facebook password?