You Want my FB Login, Why Exactly??

March 23, 2012

An AP article was recently picked up by the – “Job seekers getting asked for Facebook passwords” and shared in at least one of the LinkedIn groups that I follow.

During a job interview, the prospective employer logged in to Facebook to review the applicant’s profile. This particular applicant has set his privacy settings to ‘friends only’. This seemed to bother the interviewer who then instructed the to “to hand over his login information”. Quite rightly he refused.

I was stunned, not only by the story, but by a response posted by a ‘legal professional’ who commented, “How is social networking login information any different from supplying your bank account information or credit card information?”

How indeed!!

They didn’t ask to be friended to see his wall – they asked for his LOGIN information. Let me repeat that … LOGIN INFORMATION! You know the stuff that everyone tells you to guard with your life because it quite literally can be the keys to your castle.

This raises all sorts of issues and concerns – privacy, discrimination, unfair hiring practices, profiling … not to mention that it is a violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. In fact, FB has just issued a response to this practice, Protecting Your Passwords and Your Privacy.

So, let’s get back to the naivete of the earlier comment, “How is social networking login information any different from supplying your bank account information or credit card information?”

SERIOUSLY??? Who in their right mind would provide ANY form of login access to a third party – especially to financial information?

It’s LOGIN access people – who cares what they see or don’t see? Let them login to any social media site under THEIR OWN credentials and then review my PUBLIC profile and comments.

They want to LOGIN as you … to your e-mail, social media, perhaps even your bank accounts. Why not simply post your passwords, credit card numbers and social security number online – heck, leave the house key under the mat while you’re at it?

Yes, it used to be that employers would ask all sorts of personal information – for me, single at the time, it was, ‘are you seeing anyone and do you plan to get married?’ There were even religious questions – how many days did I expect to take off for Jewish holidays? We now have the EEOC to protect us from those sorts of questions and the related discrimination.

Employers routinely run background and credit checks – that’s fine. That information is more or less public record; however, the e-mails I sent to my mother or an ex-boyfriend 10 years ago are none of their business; neither is my contact list.

If, as a condition of employment, you want to block my access to social media and my personal email accounts from your computers and other communication devices – go right ahead. Monitor my keystrokes while you’re at it – you should be concerned about what I do on company time; however, stay out of my personal life, my bank accounts, social media, personal e-mail, and private correspondence – especially if I am accessing them on MY EQUIPMENT.

I cannot understand why any prospective employer should have the right to ask me for any login / password combination as a ‘right of employment’. My FB page/group, LinkedIn profile/group/group affiliations, blog(s) and Twitter accounts are all available for review – I consider them public forums. I am not prepared to allow anyone access to LOGIN to those sites as me for any reason. Forget terms of service, contractual agreements, etc. for a moment – what right does an employer have to LOGIN in AS ME??

I like to think that I’m ‘transparent’ (well, I am virtual after all), – go on, read all about me, but do not think for a moment that I will hand over my PIN so you can review my bank transactions or my LOGIN information so you can read private correspondence.

…okay, back to my thesis now …

One Response to “You Want my FB Login, Why Exactly??”

  1. Karen

    I would absolutely not get the job in this case. I don’t share my passwords with my husband, why for goodness sake, would I give it to a prospective employer? What would they do with that information? Remember, this is at the interview stage! What I share with family and friends is not the business of my employer. I have privacy filters set up the way I want them for a reason. While I realize that what I post is public,whether it is on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook, I would not even consider giving someone my password(s), especially at an interview. Following that logic, I should hand over my wallet at the same time. There has to be a limit. Karen