Monday, March 26, 2012

Employers Requesting Facebook Passwords - The Backlash

Last week, a widely circulated Associated Press article, Employers Ask Job Seekers for Facebook Passwords, generated a ton of controversy. The article includes stories of job interviewers requesting Facebook, and other social network, usernames and passwords - or, the slightly less intrusive practice of having the interviewee login during the interview (but not provide the password to the interviewer). Cue the outrage!

It turns out this employment screening technique is not very popular. There are proposed laws that would forbid employers from asking for job seekers' social media passwords, including one in Illinois.

Facebook issued Protecting Your Passwords and Privacy, decrying the "distressing reports" of the "alarming" practice of employers "seeking to gain inappropriate access to people’s Facebook profiles or private information." It is a violation of Facebook's policy to share or solicit passwords. Facebook also threatened legal action against apps that "abuse their privileges." And, Facebook reminds employers that they may discover information that could support discrimination claims.

And now, two Senators have called for a federal probe over employers asking for Facebook passwords. I haven't heard anybody calling for military action or the use of nuclear weapons . . . yet.

It's tough to gauge how widespread this practice is. If anybody has info on this, let me know. And, if you have any stories about interviewers requesting login info, or having you login during the interview, drop a comment!

Image: Facebook logo used in commentary on Facebook.