In the world of the ever evolving social network, one issue remains prominent: one’s employer sifting through their Facebook, which is home to a lot of private information nowadays.
Many employers almost use one’s Facebook as a type of pre-screening, judging a person by what they post, what’s posted on their ‘Timeline’ by friends, what they like, what kind of activities they do in their free time, etc. Keeping this in mind, when an employer is judging a person based on their Facebook, they are not looking at the entire picture. Often times, many will find themselves in a situation where they have less than admirable photos of which they are tagged in, wall posts and comments posted on their wall. Sometimes one’s past can be so bad that a potential employer who would have hired them had they not been on Facebook, does not even get a chance.
Facebook looks to be taking a rather proactive stance on the matter. The social network said the following in regards to employers use of Facebook data:
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. This practice undermines the privacy expectations and the security of both the user and the user’s friends. It also potentially exposes the employer who seeks this access to unanticipated legal liability.
Facebook reiterates throughout the blog post that sharing of passwords is a very risky activity and should be avoided at all costs. The problem here is if your potential employer wants to check your record as a form of background check, what are you gonna do? Deny it? And then what? You get no job and they turn you away.
Facebook does not like this practice and is strongly voicing its opinion against it. Facebook goes on to describe an interesting part of the study:
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.
In regards to how they feel towards employers, Eric Egan says, “We don’t think employers should be asking prospective employees to provide their passwords because we don’t think it’s the right thing to do.” While Egan admits further problems could arise from not showing your employer, he also states that it is a violation of Facebook’s Statement of Right and Responsibilities to be sharing passwords with anyone. Of course that alone will not stop people, but it is sure to turn some heads.
The social network has taken a stance in support of its users stating the following:
“We’ll take action to protect the privacy and security of our users, whether by engaging policymakers or, where appropriate, by initiating legal action, including by shutting down applications that abuse their privileges.”
The issue of whether employers can use one’s Facebook profile information could become a legal one before long. According to The Verge, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal is in the process of drafting up a bill right now that would prevent employers from asking for your password.
Personally, I do not see how an employer should be allowed to screen based on profiles. How a person is on Facebook and how they are in real life can be a drastic difference.