Should Employers Be Able to Ask for Your Facebook Password?
When I first heard the rumblings of employers requiring their applicants to provide their Facebook passwords, I thought surely this must be few and far between. I mean really. What is the motivation? What are they looking for – dirt on you that they can use against you? It’s such an utter invasion of privacy I was surprised that instead of the rumbling going quietly away, it grew louder as more and more companies began asking for passwords as well.
Thankfully, Facebook has responded that it will protect its users from such practices. Today on their Facebook and Privacy page, Erin Egan, Chief Privacy Officer, Policy, made it clear that Facebook is against employers gaining access to their employees passwords. Here’s an excerpt:
“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 American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) agrees that this is an invasion of privacy. ACLU attorney Catherine Rump added her thoughts on the issue in a recent blog, stating, “It’s an invasion of privacy for private employers to insist on looking at people’s private Facebook pages as a condition of employment or consideration in an application process. People are entitled to their private lives. You’d be appalled if your employer insisted on opening up your postal mail to see if there was anything of interest inside. It’s equally out of bounds for an employer to go on a fishing expedition through a person’s private social media account.”
It’s conceivable that we’re going to see all sorts of privacy issues arise as we continue to do more and more online, and lawmakers haven’t quite figured out how do deal with these issues yet. While all the dust settles, it is certainly in your best interest to never, ever, share passwords with anyone. And that includes your current or prospective employers.
Would you consider sharing your Facebook password with your current or prospective employers?