Facebook has weighed in on a practice that has become more popular in recent months. Employers more and more are asking for potential employees to hand over their Facebook Passwords so the company can screen you more closely.
Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer, Erin Egan, said in a blog post today, “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.”
Employers’ asking prospective or actual employees to reveal their passwords is not only dangerous to your privacy, but it may violate the terms of Service of your Facebook account.
Egan goes on to say “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.”
“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.”
Not only is this a risk to the person who’s account is compromised, but this may open the door to lawsuits against the employer who gained access to an account. Many questions are not allowed to be asked on job applications, and by having unfettered access to someone’s social media accounts could create a discrimination lawsuit if the person is not hired.