It has become very common, as part of the candidate vetting process, for employers to search for Facebook profiles, Twitter accounts and other social media sites to get a peek at what behavior people display.
So now, not only do employers believe they have a right to know how you handle your credit (because many also check how you handle your personal finances), they feel justified in prying to see what you say and do with your friends?
People ought to be outraged. Employers have lost their minds -- and their sense of what privacy means.
I don’t generally post private information on any of my social media sites. Nothing about the Internet says private to me. Still, making job hunters reveal their most intimate pictures and conversations to get a job is just wrong, and should be illegal.
“It’s akin to requiring someone’s house keys,” Orin Kerr, a George Washington University law professor and former federal prosecutor told AP. He called such a request “an egregious privacy violation.”
In Virginia,candidates for state trooper positions are required to sign on to their Facebook accounts or any other social medium they use during the interview process, BusinessWeek reported.
In an interview with BusinessWeek, Corinne Geller, spokeswoman for the Virginia State Police, said this: “You sign a waiver, then there’s a laptop and you go to these sites and your interviewer reviews your information. It’s a virtual character check as much as the rest of the process is a physical background check.”
At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, team athletes are required to accept a coach or administrative official as a friend on their Facebook accounts so the official can monitor their pages.
Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut are urging Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate the practice, which they believe is illegal and unfair, AP reported recently.
Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, said in a recent blog post, “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.”
But Facebook only has itself to blame for this mess, says Chunka Mui, a contributor to Forbes.com.
“The ease of access and use of sensitive personal information is due to Facebook’s past insensitivity about user privacy, as evidenced by its repeated expansion of what information is public by default,” Mui writes.
How do you feel about this?
This week’s Color of Money question: What do you think of being required to give up your Facebook username and password to a prospective employer? Would you do it? Have you done it? Send your responses to email@example.com. Put “Facebook” in the subject line. Be sure to include your full name, city and state.