Recently, there have been reports that employers are now asking people to give up their Facebook usernames and passwords during job interviews. This goes beyond methods that employers have used in the past, which include traditional background checks and cursory searches through a search engine.
Facebook itself recently came out with a new policy that protests against this practice. It reads:
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.
However, employers still have the right to say, “Password or interview’s over,” which is a creepy thing to think about.
Even though I’ve spent the past year or so bowdlerizing my Facebook account, I would still not feel comfortable handing over my Facebook password to some random guy in an office. Considering that my Facebook password is my password for a number of other accounts I have, it doesn’t seem right. And, as the quote above says, the employer can then look at an applicant’s friends and their information, to which they were never granted access.
For now, employers may just want to skim through profile pictures and statuses to determine whether an applicant is to their standard. But, in the future, if enough people allow employers to get away with this practice, soon they may assert that each new employee must hand his social media account information to the human resources department to reconfigure.
I remember during one of my interviews for an internship, my interviewer asked if I had a Twitter, and then asked for my username. I gave it to her, but all the while hoped I didn’t have any implicating tweets on it.
The more bad things I hear and see from within and outside of Facebook, the more I would like to leave it, purely so that if this ever happens, I can tell an employer, “I don’t have a Facebook account.” Trump card.