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The Snowman
Premium
join:2007-05-20
kudos:4

Job seekers getting asked for Facebook passwords

SEATTLE - When Justin Bassett interviewed for a new job, he expected the usual questions about experience and references. So he was astonished when the interviewer asked for something else: his Facebook username and password.

Bassett, a New York City statistician, had just finished answering a few character questions when the interviewer turned to her computer to search for his Facebook page. But she couldn't see his private profile. She turned back and asked him to hand over his login information.

Bassett refused and withdrew his application, saying he didn't want to work for a company that would seek such personal information. But as the job market steadily improves, other job candidates are confronting the same question from prospective employers, and some of them cannot afford to say no.

In their efforts to vet applicants, some companies and government agencies are going beyond merely glancing at a person's social networking profiles and instead asking to log in as the user to have a look around.

"It's akin to requiring someone's house keys," said Orin Kerr, a George Washington University law professor and former federal prosecutor who calls it "an egregious privacy violation."

Questions have been raised about the legality of the practice, which is also the focus of proposed legislation in Illinois and Maryland that would forbid public agencies from asking for access to social networks.

Since the rise of social networking, it has become common for managers to review publically available Facebook profiles, Twitter accounts and other sites to learn more about job candidates. But many users, especially on Facebook, have their profiles set to private, making them available only to selected people or certain networks.

Companies that don't ask for passwords have taken other steps , such as asking applicants to friend human resource managers or to log in to a company computer during an interview. Once employed, some workers have been required to sign nondisparagement agreements that ban them from talking negatively about an employer on social media.

Asking for a candidate's password is more prevalent among public agencies, especially those seeking to fill law enforcement positions such as police officers or 911 dispatchers.

Back in 2010, Robert Collins was returning to his job as a security guard at the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services after taking a leave following his mother's death. During a reinstatement interview, he was asked for his login and password, purportedly so the agency could check for any gang affiliations. He was stunned by the request but complied.

"I needed my job to feed my family. I had to," he recalled,

After the ACLU complained about the practice, the agency amended its policy, asking instead for job applicants to log in during interviews.

"To me, that's still invasive. I can appreciate the desire to learn more about the applicant, but it's still a violation of people's personal privacy," said Collins, whose case inspired Maryland's legislation.

Until last year, the city of Bozeman, Mont., had a long-standing policy of asking job applicants for passwords to their email addresses, social-networking websites and other online accounts.

And since 2006, the McLean County, Ill., sheriff's office has been one of several Illinois sheriff's departments that ask applicants to sign into social media sites to be screened.

Chief Deputy Rusty Thomas defended the practice, saying applicants have a right to refuse. But no one has ever done so. Thomas said that "speaks well of the people we have apply."

When asked what sort of material would jeopardize job prospects, Thomas said "it depends on the situation" but could include "inappropriate pictures or relationships with people who are underage, illegal behavior."

In Spotsylvania County, Va., the sheriff's department asks applicants to friend background investigators for jobs at the 911 dispatch center and for law enforcement positions.

"In the past, we've talked to friends and neighbors, but a lot of times we found that applicants interact more through social media sites than they do with real friends," said Capt. Mike Harvey. "Their virtual friends will know more about them than a person living 30 yards away from them."

Harvey said investigators look for any "derogatory" behavior that could damage the agency's reputation.

E. Chandlee Bryan, a career coach and co-author of the book "The Twitter Job Search Guide," said job seekers should always be aware of what's on their social media sites and assume someone is going to look at it.

Bryan said she is troubled by companies asking for logins, but she feels it's not violation if an employer asks to see a Facebook profile through a friend request. And she's not troubled by non-disparagement agreements.

"I think that when you work for a company, they are essentially supporting you in exchange for your work. I think if you're dissatisfied, you should go to them and not on a social media site," she said.

More companies are also using third-party applications to scour Facebook profiles, Bryan said. One app called BeKnown can sometimes access personal profiles, short of wall messages, if a job seeker allows it.

Sears is one of the companies using apps. An applicant has the option of logging into the Sears job site through Facebook by allowing a third-party application to draw information from the profile, such as friend lists.

SEE:

»www.philly.com/philly/wires/ap/n···rds.html



jvmorris
I Am The Man Who Was Not There.
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-03
Reston, VA
kudos:1

4 recommendations

A couple of quick questions before really getting into this.

First, isn't it true that the terms of service (ToS) of many if not all social networking sites prohibit you from sharing your username/password with others? If that is correct, you are considering working for a company that requires you to violate a previously made agreement in order to work for them? How long before they decide there are some other previous agreements they will suddenly decide you need to violate, e.g., prior non-disclosure agreements?

Second, am I correct in assuming that this new screening procedure is only applied to new hires? Put another way, are current management and supervisory personnel exempted from revealing their usernames/passwords? This is important (to me) because these are the people who've made the rules and I'd like to know if they've effectively exempted themselves.
--
Regards,
Joseph V. Morris



MacGyver
Don't Waste Your Energy
Premium,ExMod 2003-05
join:2001-10-14
Canada
kudos:2

3 recommendations

reply to The Snowman

I'd rather delete my profile.



Kilroy
Premium,MVM
join:2002-11-21
Saint Paul, MN

3 recommendations

reply to The Snowman

I guess LastPass is the answer. You can honestly tell them you don't know what your password is. Log onto my LastPass account and have it log in? Sorry, left my YubiKey at home.

I do have agree with jvmorris See Profile that you could use the site's terms of service as another excuse. Being in IT you have the other option that you state that you do not access personal accounts on machines that you do not own due to possible security issues. The list of reasons why you can't/won't allow them access to your accounts is unlimited. Bottom line do you really want to work for someone who wants to be involved in your whole life? Really they are renting my time, they don't own me.
--
When will the people realize that with DRM they aren't purchasing anything?



norbert26
Premium
join:2010-08-10
Warwick, RI

said by Kilroy:

I do have agree with jvmorris See Profile that you could use the site's terms of service as another excuse. Being in IT you have the other option that you state that you do not access personal accounts on machines that you do not own due to possible security issues. The list of reasons why you can't/won't allow them access to your accounts is unlimited. Bottom line do you really want to work for someone who wants to be involved in your whole life? Really they are renting my time, they don't own me.

If asking for FB passwords and searching your social media accounts isn't enough let's add in credit checks that are run behind your back using your SS# they demanded on the job APP. Let's add go pee in a cup too. Are they renting a person's time OR buying a slave ? On the flip side of the coin an applicant that refuses these clear privacy violations does NOT get hired.


jvmorris
I Am The Man Who Was Not There.
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-03
Reston, VA
kudos:1

Was it Will Rogers or Mark Twain who said "I wouldn't want to belong to any club that would have me as a member"?

I would not be at all comfortable with working for a company that had these practices. You're effectively buying into a company that has a philosophy very similar to that of East Germany and the Stasi. (And if it's not that way right now, it soon will be.) You're shortly going to learn that a lot of your co-workers have come to the conclusion that the best and easiest way for them to get ahead is to act as back-stabbing informants. You're going to find that your supervisors and managers, rather than electing to work out disagreements on how things should be done, will simply resort to using whatever sensitive personal information they have culled about you in the process to intimidate you into doing what they want to do -- there will be no discussion and conflict resolution. And, when and if you decide you can't stand it anymore and need to look elsewhere for employment, you're now vulnerable to being trash talked.

Of course, if you're desperate and there's no other game in town, then you do what you feel you have to do -- and I'm not going to criticize anyone for that.
--
Regards,
Joseph V. Morris



psafux
Premium,VIP
join:2005-11-10
kudos:2

1 recommendation

reply to The Snowman

I cannot be found on facebook so im not terribly worried about it. I have, for many years, urged others to be wary of social networking. It has its benefits but it has a lot of downsides for the careless / naive user as well.



jvmorris
I Am The Man Who Was Not There.
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-03
Reston, VA
kudos:1

5 recommendations

In the interests of full disclosure , I suppose I should note that I also do not engage in any of the social network arrangements -- but then there are things that I don't consider social networking that others (including prospective employees) might.

My primary concern, therefore, has to do with requests to turn over e-mail and forum username and password accounts, "just in case, ....". Ain't gonna happen.

No one gets my username and password to DSLReports.com. No one gets same for LinkedIn (clearly a tempting target for abuse if provided). No one is going to get username/password for any of my e-mail accounts. It's none of their business.

Now, if an organization wants to contest my position. I have a couple of options for them to consider.

First, I want an Acknowledgement of Potential Liability -- a written, signed, witnessed statement that any misuse or abuse of such access exposes the organization, any employee of the organization, or any other person or organization to whom this information might be passed to both financial and possible criminal sanctions with no limits on the liability such abuse would justify.

Second, if they want to know what I might be doing, then I want to know what they might be doing -- a Reciprocity Agreement, in which every individual who might have access to any information so obtained must also (and previously) have provided me with their username/passwords to all similar accounts that they themselves may maintain. After all, they can do far more damage to me than I likely can to them. And, at least in my own personal experience, I have found that the probability that a manager or supervisor may be engaged in "unacceptable conduct" far exceeds the possibility that one of my co-workers does so.

Finally, I want a written affirmation that all supervisors, managers, officers and Board members of the organization have already submitted to similar vetting (and that includes the HR yokel to whom I'm talking).

Now, none of this is going to happen, is it? In other words, the prospective employee is being asked to enter into a very unequal relationship with the prospective employer. Those who wish to return to a fundamentally feudal system of economic vassalage are free to do so, just don't expect me to be among them.
--
Regards,
Joseph V. Morris



StuartMW
Who Is John Galt?
Premium
join:2000-08-06
Galt's Gulch
kudos:2

1 recommendation

reply to The Snowman

Hey I'll give my (non-existent) FB password to anyone that wants it.

That said FB membership is so prevalent that employers probably won't believe you when say you're not on it. And if you explain why you're not on it you'll be labelled a "nut".
--
Don't feed trolls--it only makes them grow!


Bobby_Peru
Premium
join:2003-06-16
reply to jvmorris

said by jvmorris:

Was it Will Rogers or Mark Twain who said "I wouldn't want to belong to any club that would have me as a member"?

Groucho (loosely...)


beerbum
Premium
join:2000-05-06
Reading, PA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to The Snowman

I guess I don't have to worry about this being that I've been unemployed long enough that my application will simply be filed in the nearest trash can.

No doubt with so many long term unemployed out there, I'm sure companies feel they can get away with this due to so many people being desperate to get work, thus making them willing to overlook such egregious violations of privacy..

I'm curious tho.. these companies that are asking for this information, are they also making you sign some document that would then prevent the applicant from then changing their passwords? I'm pretty sure if I were ever in the position where I felt I had to give up that information for a job interview, the first thing I would do upon returning home would be to change every single password that I had given out.



jvmorris
I Am The Man Who Was Not There.
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-03
Reston, VA
kudos:1

Of course, the prospective employer might already have changed it "for" you.
--
Regards,
Joseph V. Morris



kim
That Chick
Premium,Mod
join:2001-03-25
ON
kudos:7
Reviews:
·Cogeco Cable

2 recommendations

reply to The Snowman

What next? The keys to my house? Password to my bank account? If I'm broke I'm more likely to be a theif.
Then a quick rifle through my underwear drawer and a list of the last 25 books and movies I enjoyed?

Like jvmorris See Profile said, they're asking you to violate the terms of service.
This should be illegal.
--
"Let me 'splain, no that will take too long... let me sum up."



BronsCon

join:2003-10-24
Walnut Creek, CA
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET

1 recommendation

reply to StuartMW

said by StuartMW:

Hey I'll give my (non-existent) FB password to anyone that wants it.

That said FB membership is so prevalent that employers probably won't believe you when say you're not on it. And if you explain why you're not on it you'll be labelled a "nut".

"I'm not on it because people like you like to use it to pry into parts of my life they have no business knowing about."

If they can't respect that, you don't want to work for them.


DataDoc
My avatar looks like me, if I was 2D.
Premium
join:2000-05-14
Martinsburg, WV
Reviews:
·Suddenlink
reply to MacGyver

said by MacGyver:

I'd rather delete my profile.

Me, too. If I had one.
--
Oh, no, not clown shoes. They mean I'm in for some mighty bad news.


Snakeoil
Ignore Button. The coward's feature.
Premium
join:2000-08-05
Mentor, OH
kudos:1
reply to The Snowman

Just heard this on the radio:
»www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article···-newsxml

quote:
New laws would stop employers asking for job seekers' Facebook passwords

Proposed laws would ban public agencies from asking for Facebook profile passwords from would-be employees applying for jobs.
Lawmakers in Illinois and Maryland are considering whether the intrusive practice should be allowed during the job selection process.
It comes amid the increased interest from employers, such as law enforcement agencies for police officer or 911 dispatcher positions, to review Facebook, Twitter and other social networking accounts.

First place, why do they need you login/password information. Some people have CC info stored with their accounts, for what ever reason.
Why not just tell the applicant that they have to "friend" the HR rep. So the HR rep can read both public and "family" pages.
That isn't as bad as requesting password.

I would do neither, as it's none of my employer's business what i say/do on my own time. As long as I use my smart phone or home computer.
Now if the employer is paying for my internet service/smart phone/computer, that I'm posting from, they have the right to read the browser history.
Also as long as I am a "low man" on the totem pole, what I say and do, is again my business. Now if I was a spokesperson/CEO of the company, then that is another story.

So any employer that asks me this in the future, I'll just tell them no.
--
Is a person a failure for doing nothing? Or is he a failure for trying, and not succeeding at what he is attempting to do? What did you fail at today?.


Kilroy
Premium,MVM
join:2002-11-21
Saint Paul, MN

I guess the proper answer is when I receive a job offer we will discuss access to my personal social networking information. I can see too many people who are requesting this type of information using it for non-business related purposes.
--
When will the people realize that with DRM they aren't purchasing anything?



Smith6612
Premium,MVM
join:2008-02-01
North Tonawanda, NY
kudos:24
Reviews:
·Verizon Online DSL
·Frontier Communi..

1 recommendation

reply to The Snowman

This isn't exactly news to me, but one of the things I would mention during a hiring if asked for a Facebook Profile Login information would be to simply state that due to Facebook's own ToS, revealing the password to the account would have to result in an immediate termination of the account (on the spot before anyone can see it) since it is now in violation of the ToS. I sometimes think these cases are tests of the employee to see how well they follow agreements, especially for those who are going into companies with particular non-disclosure agreements or who are strict on their own policies. Of course, by saying the above you'll be setting yourself up for either not getting the job or being expectant of offering a solution for seeing a Facebook account. Not that it's a hard task to even do, but just an annoyance.

What makes this situation interesting is if you're applying for a job where the same exact company has a clause in their own Online ToS to that of Facebook. Referencing that I'm sure would really get the HR manager to reconsider the request to see a Facebook account, but also impress them that you are aware of policies just like that.

Just my 2 cents from a quick read of the article.



michieru
Premium
join:2009-07-25
Miami, FL
reply to The Snowman

If it's seriously that big of deal then I will just delete it altogether. If they are grouchy about it then I will look somewhere else.


RayGeode

join:2004-07-21
Norwalk, CT
Reviews:
·Optimum Online
reply to The Snowman

Simple enough, if you have high credentials, no sweat. If you're in the middle of the pack of your peers, you have to live with fixing up your FB prior, or institute a dummy site. There's always been vetting though until now it was all based on poise and resume. Glad i'm on the downhill side of my career. This stuff sucks.



coldmoon
Premium
join:2002-02-04
Broadway, NC
Reviews:
·Windstream
reply to Kilroy

said by Kilroy:

I guess the proper answer is when I receive a job offer we will discuss access to my personal social networking information. I can see too many people who are requesting this type of information using it for non-business related purposes.

Some ideas:

1. No invasive snooping or requests for username/pass info: going market rate for my services and no need for any further discussions on the topic

2. Non-binding Requests (polite) for information in #1: 2x times the going rate and no information provided

3. Demands for the above: You can't afford my services - thank you for your time...

jmho...
--
Returnil - 21st Century body armor for your PC


KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

1 recommendation

reply to The Snowman

That's utter BS.

It doesn't surprise me in the age or Fascism, (Corporatism), the merging of Government and Corporations.

They know you want a job and so want to exploit you. Hey why not just sell the job to whomever pays the highest fee! We can bring back indebted servitude!

As the power of citizens, workers, unions, etc all decline this abuse will only grow and expand in scope.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini



KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK
reply to jvmorris

said by jvmorris:

First, I want an Acknowledgement of Potential Liability -- a written, signed, witnessed statement that any misuse or abuse of such access exposes the organization, any employee of the organization, or any other person or organization to whom this information might be passed to both financial and possible criminal sanctions with no limits on the liability such abuse would justify.

Second, if they want to know what I might be doing, then I want to know what they might be doing -- a Reciprocity Agreement, in which every individual who might have access to any information so obtained must also (and previously) have provided me with their username/passwords to all similar accounts that they themselves may maintain. After all, they can do far more damage to me than I likely can to them. And, at least in my own personal experience, I have found that the probability that a manager or supervisor may be engaged in "unacceptable conduct" far exceeds the possibility that one of my co-workers does so.

Finally, I want a written affirmation that all supervisors, managers, officers and Board members of the organization have already submitted to similar vetting (and that includes the HR yokel to whom I'm talking)

Yeah, they'd just escort you from the building.

Although you are absolutely correct in every way.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini


KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK

1 edit
reply to The Snowman

Looks like it might be time to create a shell Facebook Account.

A ringer account, just in case such asshattery as this is requested.

A small caveat--- a company that is this invasive and uncaring about potential employees would also be highly likely to consider this as providing false information on your application or during your interview, which could mean they summarily fire you later with no legal recourse on your end. For example down the road they may discover you have another primary email address, and therefore claim you misled them and terminate you.

--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini



KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK
reply to kim

It's more common then you might think. I've seen companies that view a returned check as evidence you are dishonest, poor at handling responsibility, or a likely thief. Red-Flagged for sure.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini



DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3
reply to The Snowman

Just don't have a facebook account.
then they ask and say sorry I don't use that type of service.



KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK
reply to Smith6612

The original article mentions that they then have you login, without them knowing your password, and they then look around your profile, friends, and interests.

Still completely out of line--- but doesn't violate the ToS.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini



jaykaykay
4 Ever Young
Premium,MVM
join:2000-04-13
USA
kudos:24
Reviews:
·Cox HSI
·Speakeasy
reply to The Snowman

An employer or potential employer can ask for anything they feel like asking. That doesn't mean one has to give it. I wouldn't want to be black mailed like that, even if I were a part of a social group of any kind. Until this kind of thing actually goes to court, and maybe not even until it goes to the Supreme Court, it's only a guess on anyone's part as to what the ultimate legality might be. This kind of thing was never thought of when the statutes were designed, i.e. the 4th amendment. New technology is going to continue to open up cans of worms as to the intent of our laws/rights. Until then, we continue to give them away!
--
JKK

Age is a very high price to pay for my maturity. If I can't stay young, I can at least stay immature!

»www.pbase.com/jaykaykay



KrK
Heavy Artillery For The Little Guy
Premium
join:2000-01-17
Tulsa, OK
reply to DarkLogix

That may work against you as well. A lack of a FB account could signal you are "out of touch" with modern times.

While an acceptable answer, it could mean your application/interview gets filed--- in the round file.
--
"Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power." -- Benito Mussolini



DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3
reply to The Snowman

Also I'd say, if you really want such then give me a few minutes to create a facebook page and also I'll have to charge you for providing you the service of allowing you to see private info, and charge a monthly fee hence forth regaurdles sof the outcome of the job application.