Employers are soliciting Facebook passwords. What do you think?
The ammendment is a response to information that has surfaced about organizations requiring applicants and employees to “share” their social networking passwords. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D – Connecticut) says, “There is nothing voluntary about an employer asking a job applicant for login credentials or passwords.” He moves on to say, “It is coersive, and unnecessarily invasive, unreasonable and intrusive into personal privacy.”
SEC. 5. PROTECTING THE PASSWORDS OF ONLINE USERS.
Nothing in this Act or any amendment made by this Act shall be construed to limit or restrict the ability of the Federal Communications Commission to adopt a rule or to amend an existing rule to protect online privacy, including requirements in such rule that prohibit licensees or regulated entities from mandating that job applicants or employees disclose confidential passwords to social networking web sites.
The ammendment was defeated on Wednesday by a vote of 236 to 184. The underlying bill; however, was approved by a vote of 247 to 174 but has not cleared the US Senate. The republican party says they aren’t sure the bill is necessary, but said they would be open to addressing the issue in separate legislation.
Still yet, sharing your Facebook password or soliciting a password is against the social network’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. The social networking giant, Menlo Park, said it is looking to take legal action wherever necessary to protect users from employers demanding access to their account. Menlo Park did make a point to clarify that they have no plans to sue any employers at this point.
Although I support utilizing public online information to determine whether an applicant fits the culture of the company, I don’t support invasion of privacy. Demanding access to an applicant’s private information may give the employer access to information which is illegal to ask in an interview and which may be used to disqualify an applicant on the basis of religion, age, marital status, or numerous other reasons. To me, logging into a job candidate’s social network to gain private information is no different than stealing, opening and reading mail from their mailbox. Furthermore, if it’s legal to ask for social media passwords, what’s to stop an employer from requiring your online banking password as well?
A word of advice: Users of social networks need to be smart too. The information you post publicly can be used for or against you when being considered for a job. From photos and posts to likes and basic information, your Facebook is much like an online resume/character reference. Simply changing your privacy settings can mean the difference between getting that dream job or not.