Employers requesting access to a potential employee’s Facebook page has become a controversial issue recently. Some employers are requiring applicants that are being interviewed to either voluntarily give up their password, or log-in to their Facebook account as part of the interview process. Should an applicant refuse, there’s a good chance they will be out of the running for the job. Facebook has responded to these practices and stands firmly behind its users.
In a blog post, Facebook says it is against the company’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities for users to give away or request passwords. Employers are not exempt from this rule.
“As a user, you shouldn’t be forced to share your private information and communications just to get a job,” the post reads. “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.”
Facebook says employers that do this may be opening the door to unforeseen legal complications. For example, if an employer gets into an applicant’s Facebook account, it’s assumed that employer will also discover that applicant is part of a protected group (race, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, disabilities etc). Should the applicant not get the job, the employer may have to defend itself if the applicant feels they may have been discriminated against.
Though they may not realize it, the employee would be responsible for protecting the potentially sensitive information they access on an applicant’s Facebook account. Even though employers are most likely only trying to accurately assess someone’s real personality, digging through private Facebook accounts may not be worth the trouble.