Concerns Raised After Employers, Colleges Ask For Facebook Passwords

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some employers are now taking the inspection of social media profiles to a whole new level.

In some cases, job seekers have been told to provide passwords to their personal Facebook page.

So will this practice become the new norm?

College senior Farhan Husain is going on the offensive following word that potential employers may be demanding Facebook passwords as part of the screening process.

“That is a serious invasion of privacy. I can’t believe employers would go that far,” Husain told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.

Some of the concern has been sparked by an MSNBC report that said applicants for jobs with Maryland’s Department of Corrections were asked to log onto Facebook accounts and let the interviewer watch them browse through statuses, wall posts and photos.

That report also said that applicants were previously asked to give up their user name and password before an ACLU complaint put a stop to that practice last year.

Such a policy is also against Facebook’s “Statement of Rights and Responsibilities,” which states “You will not share your password, (or in the case of developers, your secret key), let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account.”

Student-athletes at some college programs across the country in certain cases have also been required to add a coach or school official as a friend so their social media postings can be monitored.

Husain and some of his friends are reacting to the news by setting up a public Facebook fan page and then a second private one, using a pseudonym.

Gerry Laytin is a Facebook user and worries job hunters could begin concealing their true identities out of concern their behavior, thoughts, and photos are controversial.

“This becomes a whole First Amendment, freedom of speech issue,” Laytin said.

Rasmussen Reports conducted a poll on the topic and got the following results:

  • 70 percent say no company should have access to your password.
  • 35 percent: it should be illegal to use Facebook as hiring criteria.
  • 33 percent think it’s okay to fire an employee for an inappropriate post.

Attorney Paul Rubell is a social media expert and expressed awe over the evolution of defining personal information.

“Marital status, sexual orientation, race, minority status and now we are talking about Facebook status,” Rubell said.

Rubell said Facebook scrutiny has reached an excessive and illegal level of invasiveness.

Currently, many in social media are watching the implications of a California court fight. One employer is battling his employee over the rightful owner of the worker’s Twitter account.

Are you worried your employer may demand your Facebook password?  Would you consent?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below…

  • Mak

    This not only puts the applicants privacy at risk but also their friends and family. If a Facebook user posts a bunch of pictures and tags them all, every single one of those people now has a history that is can be tracked. If I go out one night and end up in an inebriated state do I have to worry about somebody posting pictures of me even though I don’t have a Facebook account myself?

    We should have a “Do Not Tag” list just like the “Do Not Call” list. Get these people out of our lives!

    • Tristan

      This is also my primary concern. By allowing access to your page you are violating the privacy terms selected by people on your friends list. Your friends may have filters to allow or block certain information to certain individuals. By granting access to these pages it is questionable if this is in violation of FB policies; I for one am interested in asking facebook if this is so.

  • Joi Dixon

    I agree with Mary for the most part you should be careful when posting. NEVER add someone you don’t know. NEVER give out your password. If they don’t hire you cos you don’t give it up….. Then sue the hell out of them for violating the 1st amendment!! It’s a invasion of privacy PERIOD. Bet they don’t give theirs out! And considering all the stalkers and crazies out there…OH HELL NO!!!!! When someone starts paying ALL my bills, raising my kids…and giving me LOTS of money to do nothing…then I MAY consider it…oopss NOPE not even then! PRIVACY IS PRIVACY and it’s a damn slippery slope that slides REAL easy.

  • John

    Get off the Facebook you bunch of idiots, and stop airing out your dirty laundry on the internet for the world to see!! I got out after reading one too many life stories and all the wining and carrying one, get a real life again and close that account.

    • Joi Dixon

      I would…if ALL my family wasn’t so far away!! It’s the best way to keep in touch!! Tho I don’t go on as much as I used to!! But I gotta check on my kids, my grand parents, parents, grand kids, and the TONS of besties…NOW I MISS HOME!!!!!

  • Sheyen

    Why on earth would they need to have our password? the only reason I could see to do that, is to try to sabotage us in some way. There is no way anyone gets my password, forget it

  • mj

    do what i did make a phony facebook page and give THAT to them … then laugh at them behind their corporate backs

  • mary

    I DID NOT KNOW I LIVED IN A cCOMMUNISTIC COUNTRY it is a social thing yes you should always be cautious about what you write words can come back and haunt you WORDS CAN ALSO HURT PEOPLE it should be for fun and really keep your private things private but i am not sure i would want to work for an employer who wants to know about my private life i believe in a work day and when u are working then u are working and when i am home it is my time my unpaid time

  • jerseyjoey

    Oh well , live by facebook die by facebook. If you are stupid enough to spill your guts and throw your life story off into the cloud world full of no good then you are only to blame.

    • Clark Allen

      That’s why I am not on Facebook since spring 2010. Thank you!

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