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Trespassing on Private Facebook Accounts

March 29, 2012


I remember preparing for interviews as a college student: constantly updating my resume, shopping for a new suit, polishing my heels and of course, cleaning up my Facebook account. Though I have always been very selective on what I allow and don’t allow on my page (and who I allow to see what), I was nervous about the possibility of a potential employer seeing something I missed. To this day, I still have friends who try to “beat” the system by shortening their name, or creating an alias that only their true friends can understand.

With that said, I have always been against the practice of employers requesting a
ccess to their potential employees’ social media accounts. In my opinion, what employees do in their personal life (outside the office walls) is their own business, as long as it doesn’t harm the company in any way. So, I took note of this recent article on Mashable: Facebook Takes a Stand Against Employers Who Request Passwords.

“This practice undermines the privacy expectations and the security of both the user and the user’s friends,” [chief privacy officer Erin] Egan wrote on the Facebook Privacy blog. “It also potentially exposes the employer who seeks this access to unanticipated legal liability.”

Besides photos or comments employers may view, this article raises another important issue. Asking for personal passwords to gain access to Facebook or other social media accounts could provide employers access to information, such as age or sexual orientation, topics that typically are not discussed in an interview setting. If an employee candidate then does not land the position, the employer could potentially face discrimination claims because they had access to that confidential information.

Read the full article and decide for yourself. Do you think employers have the right to access private Facebook accounts by asking for password information?

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