Facebook Responds On Employer Password Issue

Robert Collins of Baltimore Maryland was asked for his Facebook password when he went to be rehired in the state of Maryland (AP)

Privacy and Facebook are once again making the news. This time though, the Paolo Alto social network giant is not the cause of the debate but rather the catalyst.

It’s been reported, and documented in Maryland and New York, that employers are asking current and prospective employees for their login credentials for their Facebook accounts. The issue has come under fierce debate. Some proponents of the practice feel that since most states fall under “right to work” or “at will” work status’ the employers can pretty much get away with whatever they want.

Opponents of the practice, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), agree that it’s a violation of an employee and especially a prospective employees rights. During the job interview process a prospective employer is not allowed to ask deep personal questions like if a candidate is married, pregnant or their sexual orientation. These are all things a prospective employer could easily find out with a Facebook username much less the name and password combination.

More after the break

As we reported yesterday, Robert Collins of Baltimore Maryland was trying to get rehired as a correctional officer with the state of Maryland. The person he talked to to get his job back demanded his Facebook credentials and said they needed to see if he had any gang involvement.  There’s also a documented case of a statistician in New York who was asked for his Facebook credentials when applying for a job.

Because of the harsh economic times and the current job market Collins reluctantly gave up his Facebook information while the New York statistician did not.

Some argue that if you have nothing to hide than there should be no problem with giving up your Facebook information, however that argument is bunk as it’s just like opening up a persons mail or demanding to wiretap their personal cell phones. Maryland and Illinois are considering legislation to bar that practice.

It’s also been pointed out that the practice of employer’s asking for an employees login credentials is a violation of the social networks terms of service.

Facebook posted their position on the practice of employer’s asking employees and prospective employees for their credentials. Obviously Facebook is adamantly against the policy. In their statement posted here on the companies official Facebook page they said:

The most alarming of these practices is the reported incidences of employers asking prospective or actual employees to reveal their passwords.  If you are a Facebook user, you should never have to share your password, let anyone access your account, or do anything that might jeopardize the security of your account or violate the privacy of your friends.  We have worked really hard at Facebook to give you the tools to control who sees your information.

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.  That’s why we’ve made it a violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities to share or solicit a Facebook password.

The posting by Facebook was written by their Chief Privacy Officer, Erin Egan. No one from Facebook has said what they intend to do to protect those rights for users however some industry experts feel that it would be within Facebooks rights to take legal action against the known violators of this policy.

The general consensus is that Facebook probably won’t have to do anything as the government prepares to step in.

source: Facebook via TechNewsWorld





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