Employers' demands for access to a candidate's Facebook account
is spurring a backlash -- from Facebook. Has an employer ever asked for your Facebook password? Let us know by posting a comment.
This morning, Facebook advised users to decline
such requests, which violates its own guidelines and, the company points out, undermines the security and privacy of users and their friends.
As a user, you shouldn't be forced to share your private information and communications just to get a job. And as the friend of a user, you shouldn't have to worry that your private information or communications will be revealed to someone you don't know and didn't intend to share with just because that user is looking for a job.
Some employers aren’t likely to care about violating Facebook’s guidelines, which don’t have any legal standing. The company has promised to work with lawmakers, and even take legal action, to protect the accounts and privacy of its users. Some lawmakers have already gotten in on the action. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, is working on a bill
that would prevent employers from asking for an applicant's password on Facebook or other social networks. The senator told the AP that this practice is an "unreasonable invasion of privacy for people seeking work." Facebook contends the practice isn't particularly good for employers, either.
We don’t think employers should be asking prospective employees to provide their passwords because we don’t think it’s right the 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.