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Facebook, Senators, Warn Employers on Requiring Password Disclosure from Employees
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Facebook Inc’s Chief Privacy officer, Erin Egan, posted a note of warning on Friday that the social networking company could “initiate legal action” against employers that demand Facebook passwords.

This is one of the strongest reactions so far by the social media giant against the growing practice of interviewers asking for Facebook passwords of prospective candidates to screen them. While the greatly intelligent HR employees and recruiters who believe a window into the personal world of a person can determine performance and integrity in the workplace, apparently the public, lawmakers, and Facebook do not share that view.

On Friday, Leland Yee, a California senator informed Reuters that he introduced legislation that seeks to prohibit companies in the state from demanding access to the private accounts of employees. The same goes for recruiters asking for Facebook passwords from job applicants.


According to latest Associated Press reports lawmakers in Illinois and Maryland are also considering similar legislations to stop employers from forcing employees and job applicants to part with their social media passwords.

Yee said, “Employers can’t ask in the course of an interview your sexual orientation, your age, and yet social media accounts may have that information … Employers have legitimate questions about a person’s job performance, but they can get that information the regular way, without cutting corners and violating people’s privacy.”

The Facebook spokesman Egan posted on Friday that Facebook has seen a distressing rise in recent months “in reports of employers or others seeking to gain inappropriate access to people’s Facebook profiles… We don’t think employers should be asking prospective employees to provide their passwords because we don’t think it’s the right thing to do. … But it also may cause problems for the employers that they are not anticipating. For example, if an employer sees on Facebook that someone is a member of a protected group (e.g. over a certain age, etc.) that employer may open themselves up to claims of discrimination if they don’t hire that person.”

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The situation of employers being nosy has been getting out of hand and growing to gigantic proportions due to the tight job market. The Associated Press recently reported that job applicants in the Maryland Department of Corrections were compelled to browse through their Facebook accounts in presence of the interviewer.

ACLU attorney Catherine Crump told the media, “You’d be appalled if your employer insisted on opening up your postal mail to see if there was anything of interest inside … It’s equally out of bounds for an employer to go on a fishing expedition through a person’s private social media account.”

By Friday afternoon, more than a thousand users had “liked” the post made by Egan and positive comments keep growing.


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