Can Your Employer Access Your Facebook Account?

May 25, 2012 at 2:17 pm 1 comment

There has been a lot of media excitement this month about employers asking employees for their social media account passwords.  This has become such an issue that On April 27, 2012, Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., introduced the Social Networking Online Protection Act (SNOPA).

I’m appalled that employers think this is an acceptable practice.  It seems like the modern-day equivalent of tapping your phone, or bugging your apartment.  Are employers really so paranoid that employees are going to say something bad about the company that they feel the need to invade their privacy?

Some employers would justify their actions by saying they need that access to investigate insider trading or harassment complaints.  There are other ways to accomplish those things.  Why not spend their energy making their organizations better places to work and avoid the problems that way?

Some states are even taking the initiative to introduce regulations at their level, and not wait for the federal act.  Maryland, New York, California, Illinois and New Jersey (although NJ postponed their vote) all have something passed or on the table.  So, protection for employees is coming.

In the meantime, employees should consider the following:

  • be sure their privacy settings are restricted to “friends only”
  • be especially careful about friending anyone they work with, or who works at a prospective employer
  • don’t take a job with an employer who requires you to give out your password – that says so much about the work environment
For more information, do a Google News search for “social media passwords”.  You’ll get enough articles to keep you busy for hours.

After you do your reading, tell me what you think about all this…

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1 Comment

  • 1. EcoGrrl  |  May 26, 2012 at 7:10 am

    Great summary. I think you also brought up good food for thought about the interview process as well – all revolving around how an employer makes you feel in the process.

    If an interviewer’s line of questioning doesn’t seem to be relevant to the job, it’s okay to ask them why they are asking that, and if their answers still don’t seem to make sense, remember that this is a two-way street. You can decline to answer, you can ask how their question is relevant to the job, and make the decision as to if this is the type of relationship you want to begin (and a job is a relationship, some forget!). Follow your gut.

    I’m constantly baffled at companies like Google who have sets of questions that are so off base there are entire websites dedicated to figuring out why they’re asking them, and horrified to hear about the password requests. I see these kinds of questions as paranoid and with a lack of confidence in their own ability to assess candidates in an ethical way.

    Thanks for another great post.


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