When I first read last month about employers asking potential employees for their Facebook passwords as part of the job interview process, I was in disbelief. To me, giving someone your Facebook (or Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, etc.) password is like inviting them into the bathroom with you while you take a shower. I don’t even have any sensitive information in my Facebook account, but even still, I wouldn’t give that up. It’s the principle. I would only give my password to someone I trust 150%, like a spouse or a business partner. And, I would only give it out then if that person had a legit reason for being in there in the first place.
I completely agree with U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal who said it’s an “unreasonable invasion of privacy for people seeking work.” [source: Huffington Post] In my opinion, it should be against the law for potential employers to require that as part of the employee decision-making process. I think this goes along with saying “you give an inch, they’ll take a mile.” Employers have gotten greedy and more nosy now that they can scope out all our social media sites to get a real feel for our personal lives (and for information that is illegal to ask in an interview like age, religion and sexual orientation). Now that they’ve had a taste of that, it’s no longer enough, they want more.
If I’m required to give you my Facebook password, should I just go ahead and give you my bank account login, my bra size and tell you when I’m on my period too? Why is it illegal for someone to open my mail, but it’s not illegal for them to require my Facebook password so I can be considered for a job? I don’t often get on my soapbox about things I write here at Bit Rebels, but this one gets me going.
However, there is a bright side to all of this. According to an article on PR Daily, the practice isn’t as widespread as some people say, which is good news. Also, Sarah Kessler at Mashable wrote about how Facebook intends to fight this practice, which I’m happy to hear. And, according to the Baltimore Sun, Maryland just became the first state to ban employers from asking for social media passwords. Hopefully there will be many more to come.
This infographic called Social Networking Bill of Rights, created by Background Check, presents a very nice visual to sum up this situation. Like this points out, what many employers don’t realize is that by having the passwords to specific Facebook accounts, they then become liable for the content posted on those accounts. So… is being nosy really worth it? I would hope not. What are your thoughts on this?
Header Image Credit: [psfk]