Mashable article by Sarah Kessler

Facebook and other social platforms have become a crystal ball for employers looking to learn a little more about their prospective hires than is usually shared in an interview.

While some people (employers, mostly) see this as a way to make sure that their employees aren’t liable to show up hungover every Monday morning, most people see it as a gross violation of personal privacy.  Among the detractors is Facebook itself.

Facebook’s terms of use specifically forbid giving out personal login information to anybody.

When reports of employers asking prospective employees for usernames and passwords to various social media accounts, Facebook initially seemed willing to take legal action in the interest of protecting the privacy of its users.  Now, it seems they aim to seek preventive legal protection for their users rather than launching legal assaults.

A Facebook spokesperson announced, “While we do not have any immediate plans to take legal action against any specific employers, we look forward to engaging with policy makers and other stakeholders, to help better safeguard the privacy of our users.”

Employers asking for this personal information goes beyond simple prying.  Putting this information in the hands of strangers is like giving someone you don’t know a key to your online life.  Not only can they look at your private interactions with others, but there is always the chance that your information could leak somewhere and get into malicious hands, who could then use your accounts to do very real damage to your reputation, both online and in real life.

Nobody would expect you to allow an employer to ask for a key to your house so they could come rummage through your drawers.  In an age where social media is a very real part of many peoples’ lives, it must be treated as a real piece of private property.

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