Should employers be able to demand Facebook passwords?
November 10, 2015
By Jeremy Quattlebaum, Student Voices staff writer
When you sit down for your first job interview, you may be thrown a curveball question. Not the standard “What are your qualifications?” but possibly, “What is your Facebook password?”
An increasing number of employers are asking applicants for their Facebook passwords to help vet potential employees.
While it is common for employers to search Facebook profiles and Twitter accounts to see what future employees’ behavior is like outside the interview process, some companies believe they have the right to have access to applicants’ social media accounts.
Other companies have been reported to demand that all employees “friend” the human resources manager or that applicants log on to a company computer so the hiring agents can look at the applicant’s profile.
While requests for passwords are more common among public agencies like law enforcement, more companies are demanding some type of access to employees’ or potential employees’ accounts.
Students looking to get a college internship have also been asked to hand over their passwords by firms. Stanton Huang, an Emory University student, was asked by potential bosses at marketing and management internships for his social media passwords, which did not sit well with Huang. “I’ve never given access and do not feel comfortable giving private information during a job interview outside of contact information and background checks,” Huang told USA Today.
This type of activity has roused some legislators to action. In 2012, six states passed laws that make it a crime for employers to demand the passwords of employees. Seven more states did the same in 2013, and an additional 25 have bills pending that ban employer social media intrusion, such as demanding passwords.
But if you live in one of these states, that doesn’t mean you have free rein when posting on social media. Employers still can look at social media posts, and people have been fired for posting unflattering statements about their bosses or company. Others have been terminated for work-time antics posted to Instagram or simply being caught playing hooky.
What do you think?
Do employers have the right to ask for your social media passwords? Is this part of the vetting process or does it invade employees’ privacy? Should a federal law be enacted to prevent employers from required password to be turned in? Join the discussion and let us know what you think!
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