Facebook blasts snooping employers

2012-03-24 08:36

San Francisco - Facebook on Friday blasted employers that want to see what workers have posted on their personal accounts at the world's leading social network.

Facebook chief privacy officer Erin Egan urged members of the online community not to share passwords with current or potential employers and warned companies to resist pressing for access.

"In recent months we've seen a distressing increase in reports of employers or others seeking to gain inappropriate access to people's Facebook profiles or private information," Egan said in a blog post.

"The most alarming of these practices is the reported incidences of employers asking prospective or actual employees to reveal their passwords."

She argued that snooping employers undermine the privacy of workers, and their friends at Facebook, while exposing themselves to legal risks.

For example, prospective employers could be accused of discriminating against an applicant based on seeing Facebook account information revealing someone's age or sexual preference.

"You shouldn't be forced to share your private information and communications just to get a job," Egan said.

"As the friend of a [Facebook] 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."

To enforce the point, Facebook made it a violation of its policy to share or solicit an account password.

"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," Egan said.

  • Sam - 2012-03-24 10:00

    Quite right - I'd walk right out of any interview without a backward glance if they presumed to require this information from me. Dammit, it's about the same as demanding the keys to your house so they can have a snoop around. Outrageous.

      Phoenix - 2012-03-24 10:43

      Sometimes it isnot that easy if you really need the job. It is basically blackmail.

  • Barefoot - 2012-03-24 10:26

    These companies are run by people who are comfortable in a position of power, most forgot that they might have gone through an interview to get there- how would they have felt. those in power forget easily

  • Africa21stcentury - 2012-03-24 10:54

    Forget about the companies !! What one should be worried about is government departments, like this thug , the Swaziland Minister of Justice, who only yesterday threatened fb and twitter users, not to say anything bad about his boss, this pathetic corrupt evil Mswati!!!!

  • star.night23 - 2012-03-24 13:24

    I'd have no issue with a potential boss having access to my user name. After all, if you don't something in the public domain, then don't post it on the internet. But being asked to give a password is totally unacceptable. It's the internet's equivalent of giving your house keys to a complete stranger. What about equality too? Should employees ask for their boss's password to know what kind of person they'd be working for? Just saying...

      Heiku - 2012-03-27 14:38

      Facebook is not really the public domain though. You can block your profile from being viewed by 'the public', but I guess if you are looking for work then it's public lol

      Fiona - 2012-03-27 15:28

      By gaining access to the prospective employee's profile, the employer also gets access to the interviewee's friends and family too, which is unethical - they are not being interviewed and might well resent their social commentary between friends being subject to a stranger's scrutiny. To put it into perspective - are people expected to bring their love letters and diaries to an interview? I do like your idea of asking a nosy interviewer for their social media passwords in exchange so that the prospective employee can decide whether they want to work for that kind of person!

  • jose.trusky - 2012-03-25 11:40

    I agree!!!! if the job requires you to have a social page on which to post events that will benefit the company, then yes i will create an account and share that information with the employer. However , i believe that there should be a legislation baring employers from requesting any social information like your fb account details! Surely you would not hand your fb details to your best friend, why the F would it be appropriate for your employer to have it as well. I don't care what their reasons are! facebooking is a personal matter between friends! I’m a strong believer that work should stay at work, and what happens on facebook should stay on facebook!!!!! It’s already hard enough being monitored at work, how crap would it be knowing that you cannot express or share your events with your bosses checking your fb profile!

  • ludlowdj - 2012-03-26 12:45

    Any company that requires you to divulge this information and does not employ you if you refuse is opening itself up to a nest of labor law violations that will keep it tied up in court for many years not to mention the damages they would have to pay out. In an instance where you refuse to divulge private information it becomes the employers responsibility to prove that they didn't not employ you because of your refusal, a very hard thing to prove, whereas the prospective employee just need to prove he/she was asked to divulge information that would have been an invasion of privacy and that they subsequently were overlooked for the position.

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