Employers and Facebook Privacy

Almost everyone has a Facebook nowadays, and somehow people can still complain about their private lives being made public, when they voluntarily give out this information. I know for my personal profile I have all of the privacy settings set as high as possible and even after that I still don’t put any real information about myself. Only my friends can see what high school I went to and my home town, both of which do not actually exist. Friends of friends can read my profile. They can see my religious views, A member of  “The First Church of Appliantology” and my political views, “too poor to have an opinion.” Everything else is also either a joke, or intentionally left blank. My e-mail is listed because Facebook makes you give them an e-mail to register. Right now the only one who can see my personal e-mail is myself, or anyone who has my password. This normally would not be a problem. I don’t give my password out to anyone so my information is safe, unless I apply for a job where the employer asks for my password.

Recently businesses have started a trend of asking applicants to provide their Facebook log-in and password to further judge your qualities as a potential employee. Aside from being a little creepy, it is also illegal. According to the ACLU and Facebook’s chief privacy officer, Erin Egan, this act violates the privacy of the user as well as the privacy of his or her Facebook friends.

“(W)e don’t think it’s right the thing to do,” said Egan. “But it also may cause problems for the employers that they are not anticipating. For example, if an employer sees on Facebook that someone is a member of a protected group (e.g. over a certain age, etc.) that employer may open themselves up to claims of discrimination if they don’t hire that person.”

As it says in the Facebook terms of service agreement, which I know everyone read, “You will not share your password, (or in the case of developers, your secret key), let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account.” So it already against the terms of service to give your password out anyway.

If a potential employer asks for your Facebook password, you can retaliate by citing employment laws, the Facebook terms of service, and threatening with a call to the ACLU.

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