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Applicants: Please Provide Facebook Password

I'm actually surprised this hasn't happened sooner. A number of organizations — in this case, a state prison system and several colleges and universities — are asking applicants for access to their {complink 10867|Facebook} pages. For some, the willingness to do so is a condition for being accepted or hired.

In the US, a number of constitutional amendments are being applied to these situations, but I am not equipped to argue law. What I can say with relative certainty is that these cases will affect how individuals and businesses use social media. Whether it is positive or negative depends on your point of view.

The litmus test I use in using Facebook — in addition to “Is this something you want your mother to read?” — is how I am using it relative to other ways of communicating with friends, family, and colleagues. Before Facebook, it was the good old US Mail (or FedEx or UPS or DHL, which have options that ensure delivery and privacy). Everyone knows it is a felony to interfere with or open anybody's personal mail. Entire sitcom episodes have been built on this premise. You have a certain expectation of privacy. If I send a letter to my best friend complaining about something, the only way it would get out would be for my friend to tell someone else or for the mail to get diverted. There would be legal remedies for this, and, frankly, diverting mail is a real pain in the neck unless you really want to torpedo someone.

I see Facebook as being comparable to posting something in a public place, like one of those “post no bills” sites in Manhattan. If my complaint to my best friend circulates, I have nobody to blame but myself. End of story.

So why would I do such a thing? I wouldn't. And I hope a whole lot of sane people out there wouldn't, either. So I am going to continue to be very, very careful about what I tweet, post, share, update, and +1. I will limit my use of social media depending on my circle — business acquaintances on one network, friends and family on another.

There is not going to be a free-for-all sharing of everything at any time and anywhere. This limits the intent of social media. Frankly, I think Facebook is going to come out swinging in response to requests like these. The ACLU already has, and they happen to violate Facebook's user agreement.

For all those businesses looking for ways to harness social media, I'd consider this a damper. Let's take a supply chain example. Say I'm a buyer at an OEM, and I realize that I dropped the ball by failing to order a component for a kit that is going to ship to the factory floor any minute. I could pick up the phone and plead for mercy from my management or suppliers. I could tweet some individuals I know in the industry. I could change my status on Facebook to “help!” I could send out some carefully worded emails or a few RFQs. What is the quickest way to reach the most people? Facebook. But do I want to admit for all to see that I messed up and am trying to circumvent my company's AVL? I don't think so.

Suppose one of my acquaintances retweeted my tweet to somebody with those parts. Now suppose that somebody worked for my closest competitor, whose CEO was in the same Rotary Club as my CEO. Don't laugh — I have experienced a similar situation, and it was really, really ugly.

From a positive standpoint, this practice implies that prospective employers could uncover all kinds of nasty things about their applicants. As a parent and a taxpayer, I support this to some extent. As an individual, I don't. As a business… well, how many times have you forwarded an email that says “This is a private correspondence between sender and recipient”?

The cloud and any number of data-sharing technologies are constantly being tested for security and privacy. There are technologies out there that can guarantee the safety of data transfer to a great extent. But until there is an app for “stupid,” I am going to keep my business, and my company's business, to myself. Will I share my Facebook password? As long as I have no reason not to, the answer is yes.

58 comments on “Applicants: Please Provide Facebook Password

  1. Adeniji Kayode
    March 7, 2012

    Providing facebook password might not go well with everybody but then company find as a way to get to know the character of their potential staff behind the doors- who they are when no one is looking.

  2. tioluwa
    March 7, 2012

    A very interesting development indeed, and I totally agree with you on this one.

    Interactions on facebook is like asking a public speech to be considered private discussion.

    If the password issue is for security, then no big deal.

    However, for colledges and government institutions, i think they should provide some form of guarantee as to what the information will be used for, and ways to ensure they don't do more than they have the right to.

     

  3. bolaji ojo
    March 7, 2012

    I was slightly surprised when I first read your blog. Isn't this kind of invasive, I asked myself. What if my Facebook is restricted to friends and family? I mentioned this to a friend and was also surprised to find out many people were aware this is already happening. Fascinating.

    Whoever came up with this idea and what is the objective? To capture more information about the applicant? What will they do with the information and how do they ensure they don't come to the wrong conclusions about the applicant from postings on a social site by the applicant and their “friends”?

  4. Barbara Jorgensen
    March 7, 2012

    For the prison system, which I think is Maryland, the idea was to make sure potential employees didn't have any friends or affiliations with gangs or gang members. For the colleges, it has so far been limited to athletes. I think the idea there is to make sure they are abiding by the rules of the college and, if they have a scholarship, to keep an eye on them. There are a number of porblems with the latter: does this extend to academic scholarships as well? Band scholarships, etc.?

    I originally agreed with you that this is an invasion of privacy, except I don't privacy is possible on the Internet. Regardless of the privacy options on social media sites, if you post something on Facebook, you should automatically assume it is in the public realm.

    There is also the problem of other people posting to your site or tagging you in photos. Rather than ramble on, maybe I should write a follow up blog about that.

  5. ITempire
    March 7, 2012

    @ Adeniji

    The company is entitled to interview staff, make him sign confidentiality agreements, agreements not to confront on issues against the company but no one should be entitled to invade into one's privacy. Everyone, who is a professional, has his/hers own personal life and for most of us, we do things that we dont want to discuss with anyone else except few trusted or those who are subject of our actions. Whether what we do is ethical or unethical, as long as the employer or our university is not on the receiving end of our bad actions, they should not be entitled to interfere or view our discussions and actions.  

  6. ITempire
    March 7, 2012

    @ Barb

    “Regardless of the privacy options on social media sites, if you post something on Facebook, you should automatically assume it is in the public realm.”

    Facebook has so many other content belonging to us like messages directed to inbox, chatting and pictures of our families esp spouse that are only shared with limited groups. If an employer wants to hire us, a strong reference check may suffice. If academic institutions are interested, they may contact ones that were our previous affiliates. Asking for passwords still doesnt feel justified to me. As Bolaji mentioned, even if we provide the password, its possible that someone might conclude wrongly about us based on viewing few interactions with our friends on fb.  

  7. FLYINGSCOT
    March 7, 2012

    I cannot see how any company or organization can ask an individual to divulge personal information (like a password) without breaching some human right.

  8. alawson
    March 7, 2012

    I agree with Bolaji here. The fact that they can ask is a non-issue to me, as long as my saying 'no' does not affect my chance at getting a job, etc. Just because it is Facebook and 'social' it should not be viewed differently than other things that might fall into this realm.  Would you give up your email password? Your phone records? What about your Mint.com login?

    I don't think so. So where do we draw the line?

    Thanks for this post Barb.  Will be following this closely.

  9. ProcurementEtc
    March 7, 2012

    It is illegal to demand someone hand over their password.  passwords are protected by federal and int'l law.  as a result a court order is needed to obtain access to your account directly thru the provider. Any organzation that requests this info should be reported to the appropriate governing body. 

    Even manned with your screen name to monitor your posts an organization cannot view your account unless you “friend” them or have public view enabled.  So requiring simply isn't plausible as a means to see who you associate with, political or social views, etc. 

    It's truly frightening that an org. in possession of our passwords could post immoral or illegal content as you or I.  Altho you could change or password to prevent acess what if they changed your password – locking you out of your account?  The potential to commit fraud or crimse as you is very real.   I'm guessing this would render social media as we know it toxic and in the end useless to organziations hoping to use it.  

    This scenario just doesn't seem plausible. any organization trying to strong arm folks into releasing this information has to be deemed as suspect considering there are no legal checks and balances at this time.

  10. Barbara Jorgensen
    March 7, 2012

    @Procurement: thanks for the post. That is one of those legal areas that I'm not well-equipped to examine. I do know that both the First Admendment to the US Constitution (freedom of speech) and the Fourth Amendment (prohibiting unnecessary search and seizure) have been held up as reasons to ban the practice. More importantly, as you point out, it renders social media useless to those that actually want to use it for legitimate purposes.

  11. Barbara Jorgensen
    March 7, 2012

    @Andy: yes, this is a potential game breaker. But I think it will take awhile to sort out the legal implications or to establish precedents that the courts can follow. Heavens knows the last thing we need is more laws, but something like this inevitably heads in that direction.

  12. Tcat
    March 7, 2012

    Dear Barbara and fellow geeks:

     

    I'll pass over my password when Pigs Fly!

     

    I am teaching my young neices and nephews to get their own domain names and create unique email addresses per topic/vendor. I use eetimes@, facebook@, LinkedinX@ ….

     

    The last example has an X because X has to have become a #. This tell me the # of times that vendor/friends/etc has been hacked. Every breech like Strafor@ is now Strafor1@

     

    Give up a password?  You are joking…

     

    Making that a condition of X and I am making your life conditional. As the Editor in chief of TRCBNews I would make your life a living hell in reputation mgt.

     

  13. bolaji ojo
    March 7, 2012

    Tcat, Pigs are flying and I am still not handing over password to my Facebook account or even providing access for that matter. Torture me, however, and . . .

    That's the only condition but why would I want to work for a company that does this anyway. 🙂

  14. Tcat
    March 7, 2012

    I'm with you my man! Speaking straight, I'm Not a PE (great respect to those here that are). I am an IT guy with 20 years of paper in 'certs'. The concept flys so against any concept of security… What happened to non-repudiation?  That is a basic tenet of security concepts.http://www.certiguide.com/secplus/cg_sp_424NonRepudiation.htm

  15. Adeniji Kayode
    March 8, 2012

    @Flyingscot, Well, somehow they do. I was there one time that a CEO was answering a question along this post. He said he sometimes view people's FB page before making a major decision about them.

    Could that be a form of insecurity or avenue for judgement at foresight?

  16. Adeniji Kayode
    March 8, 2012

    @WaqasAitaf, you are right but then is your activities on Fb a moral and legal ground to be considered before a person can be employed or admitted to school?

  17. Adeniji Kayode
    March 8, 2012

    I think to some extent, Companies are getting more interested in moral stand of their staffs these days even though they don,t want to be involved.

    To some organisations, working for them and with them goes beyond just resume work in the morning and close for the day in the afternoon.

    While a lot of people may not buy this, some organisation don,t joke with this aspect, they see it as a way of knowing that part of you that can never be seen when you go for the interview and definately you don,t appear for an interview with some things.

  18. Clairvoyant
    March 8, 2012

    In my opinion, I think looking at a person's facebook page before hiring them goes too far. Facebook can disclose many personal things about a person, not related to their work. However, it also goes the other way, in that the person can raise their privacy settings in Facebook so that other's can't see as much about them.

  19. Adeniji Kayode
    March 8, 2012

    @Clairvoyant,

    Hmm, but the moment you submit your password, there is nothing like privacy any more.

  20. tioluwa
    March 8, 2012

    I think the password issue maybe going too far, but an employer checking a potential employee's facebook page (if access is granted) could in some very rear cases be of value to the employeer if the he/she things the person's social life could be important to the job.

    But to demand for that also is another matter entirely.

  21. bolaji ojo
    March 8, 2012

    Barbara, I am curious. What did companies do before Facebook, etc.? How were they getting the skinny on potential employees? Maybe they had private detectives track employees, riffle through their trash cans or call up the credit bureau for a credit check — some companies do this even now.

    Imagine the titilation of the guy who gets to read your Facebook postings and comments/responses from your family and friends. What's the value to employers in seeing potential employees with braces on and pimples from high school? Or me with an afro on — yes, I used to sport an afro hairdo but thankfully no pictures survived from my high school … or did any?

    You've got me sweating!

  22. ITempire
    March 8, 2012

    @ Adeniji

    I get your point @ companies want to know about a candidate over and above the resume and interview interaction. But there should be some boundaries to the sources they can utilize to evaluate a candidate's character. A view to a facebook account might suffice. Its fair if the company tells you to accept them as friends on facebook as they want to view your activity. But asking for a password and keeping it as a mandatory requirement for getting recruited; I wont buy that. 

  23. Barbara Jorgensen
    March 8, 2012

    Bolaji: Before Facebook, potential employees were asked to fill out applications that asked things like “have you ever been convicted of a felony?” More often than not, employers took this at face value. Now, there are services that provide background checks (I'm not sure the private detective route is cost-effective). Another miracle of outsourcing.

    I would hope a past afro would not disqualify an applicant … anyone who lived through the 1970s could be ruled out for poor fashion judgment…

  24. Barbara Jorgensen
    March 8, 2012

    @Adeniji: I would argue that privacy is a thing of the past. Anyone with a cell phone can record what you are doing without your permission. Kids in school used to act up and they were dealt with in the privacy of the principal's office. Now, this stuff goes viral and a single mistake will follow you for the rest of your life. There is a difference between the things you can control–such as the things you post on your own Facebook page; and the things you can't (other people posting a photo of you). Just like there is separation of church and state, there should be separation of public and private.

  25. Nemos
    March 8, 2012

    Very nice Post Barbarba , At first I want to say that Facebook suffers from privacy gaps and sometimes these gaps can cause security “holes” also. If I remember well I have seen the privacy setting to be changed three maybe four times causing a mess to the users profiles. At second as you said we must be very cautious what we are posting and where…….

  26. prabhakar_deosthali
    March 9, 2012

    Time and again I am advocating that the social media like Facebook should remain something on personal basis and no connection with business.

    If at all a company want to see what is posted on facebook they an always look at what has been posted by an individual for public. Why should they be asking for your password?

    If Facebbok has become such popular as also a tool for businesses , then it requires partioning between business users and personal users .

  27. Adeniji Kayode
    March 9, 2012

    @Tioluwa,

    I have not experienced the case of an employer asking for the password before but I have heard of a case whereby the employer had to open FB just to view another person's page. Though, he will not have so much access to stuffs on the web page but also to some extent, he would be able to see some few things.

  28. Clairvoyant
    March 9, 2012

    Adeniji, I was meaning during the interviewing stage.

  29. Ariella
    March 9, 2012

    @prabhakar_deosthali I agree. A person has a right to keep communications of a personal kind limited. If s/he posted it on FB for friends only, that means it is not something that concerns the individual's professional identity and so none of the compnay's business. It should have no more right to that than it does to a person's personal email. 

  30. itguyphil
    March 9, 2012

    That seems a little too invasive. Next, they'll ask for your online banking account information to monitor HOW you spend your salary/pay. Doesn't this seem like a precursor for litigation??

  31. ahdand
    March 10, 2012

    Isnt this a breech of privacy rights of the applicants ? I have also seen such notices but I ignore them since its not ethical. I think we sould implement a law to stop these kind of things. It should not fall under the law of Privacy right as it is right now because nobody cares for it.

  32. Ariella
    March 11, 2012

    @pocharle I've heard that some employers check out applicant credit history, but they may justify that by saying they want to minimize risks that could be associated with people who get into heavy debt. Insurance companies also factor credit into their assessment of driver risk. But that is not quite as invasive as demanding access to all personal posts. 

  33. Susan Fourtané
    March 12, 2012

    Barbara, 

    Despite I don't have a reason for not sharing my Facebook password I wonder how comfortable I would feel knowing and believing it's a violation to my privacy. Somewhere, on one or maybe two social networks, I have written: What I don't tell it's no one's business. This is mainly because I like to keep some things to myself, and see no point in broadcasting some information. I tell you, nothing that the FBI would like to spend hours investigating; the information can be my date of birth or where I went last weekend or who is my best friend or where I am going to be tomorrow evening. I simply hate broadcasting information that I believe it's no one's business. 

    Then as have the information in the category of the way I think, what I think, and why I think this or that. In this case, I like to tell, write, post, etc. without worrying if someone out there is going to like what I say or not. Why is this? Because I believe in what I think and not saying what I think would be like betraying myself, wouldn't it? And, I don't believe anything of what I think can make any trouble. So I think I am pretty lucky in this matter. I can just be myself without any worry. 🙂 

    Something I have been thinking about, though, is how all this privacy thing, having colleges, companies, etc asking you for your Facebook password can influence in the distortion of the person's real Self, personality, way of thinking, communicating, and expressing herself or himself. Would it be that at some point we are not going to be able to trust anyone anymore because we are not going to really know if the public/social image is the mirrow of the person or if it is just something created to please certain business or college? Well, I wouldn't like that. By all means I believe the best we can do is being ourselves and respecting our freedon of speech and freedom of thinking.

    -Susan 

     

  34. Susan Fourtané
    March 12, 2012

    Ariella, 

    Checking out applicants' credit history is simply too much for my liking. It's no one's business what a person does with his salary, not even the employer has the right to determine what the employees have to do with their money. 

    I believe it's as invasive as demanding access to all personal posts. There are plenty of phycodiagnosis tests to know about almost everything the employer needs to know for X position. 

    -Susan 

  35. Susan Fourtané
    March 12, 2012

    Clairvoyant, 

    You know what's the best? If you have some private information you want to keep private you just keep it for yourself. Not about social media, but I have a recent example. A person from the yellow pages, or something like that, called me to add my information on the new issue. I was not interested, and said it so. He kept insisting, asking qiuestions, when he got to the point where I saw no point in giving him the information he was asking for, for what he said he was representing I told him straightaway that I was not going to answer that because it was not his business what I do with my business. 

    Some people simply don't get the definition of privacy and think they can happily go asking all sorts of questions.

    -Susan 

  36. Ariella
    March 12, 2012

    @Susan It's not uncommon, particularly for positions that call for several years of experinece. But there are regulations associated with it that vary by state. According to http://www.esrcheck.com/articles/Credit-Reports-and-Job-Hunting.php

     The job applicant must provide written authorization before an employer can request a credit report. Under the Federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), an applicant has a series of additional rights. If an employer intends not to hire someone based upon information in the credit report, then the applicant must first receive a copy of the report and statement of rights. The applicant has a right to review the credit report and to dispute any information believed to be inaccurate or incomplete. This right applies even if the employer had additional reasons not to hire the person or even if an applicant has excellent credit, but the employer has other concerns based upon the credit report, such as a reported high debt level. It may be, for example, that the debt level is overstated in the report. If a final decision is made, an applicant is entitled to a second confirming letter. In California, job applicants must also be given the opportunity to request a copy of the report free of charge if the employer obtains it.

  37. Barbara Jorgensen
    March 12, 2012

    Susan: Thanks for the well-thought-out reply. I have continued to think about this as well. Sharing my password might mean I have nothing to hide, but being asked to do so offends me on many levels.  I agree that what someone can tell about you from Facebook can be distorted. I actually believe the professional should remain separate from the personal and vice versa. But the genie is already out of the bottle. People feel entitled to this information and the reluctance to share it now raises suspicion. It is a very, very disturbing trend. 

  38. Susan Fourtané
    March 13, 2012

    Thanks, Ariella. 

    I didn't know this. It sounds not right to me, though. 

    -Susan 

  39. Susan Fourtané
    March 13, 2012

    Thanks, Barbara. 

    I totally agree with your thoughts on password sharing. It sounds almost ridiculous to me, it's like “I need to see what sort of things you say and post on Facebook to see if I could give you job or not.”

    On Facebook I have a quite small group of people (less than 300) whom I appreciate and trust. It's a mix of personal and professional contacts, though, and I like it that way.

    As I said previously, I have nothing to hide, and believe that getting closer with some people you work with can be beneficial for the professional relationship. Don't people who work together go for coffee and talk about personal stuff out from the office? They do. So I have virtual coffees with my professional contacts on Facebook, instead, as they are in different parts of the world. 🙂 It works well for me, which doesn't mean it has to work well for everyone. 

    On LinkedIn I may have the same professional contacts, the difference is that there I don't say or share anything personal. It's more distant.

    Twitter, for me, is just a source for getting and sharing information, mainly professional or topics I am interested in. 

    Google+ is almost non-existent, I only post links to articles, things I read. That's all. 

    Yes, it's a very disturbing trend. It shouldn't be supported or accepted. 

    -Susan 

  40. JADEN
    March 13, 2012

    In my opinion, I think for the purpose of background checking, where “qualifying and disqualifying information” may be available to hire an employee.  Employers can find out about who's working or to work for them, and as the needed personal information is already publicly available, so much the better.  It's also legal, because on the internet, you have a lower expectation of privacy. What one posts online is not as private as, say, a home telephone conversation. For an employer to view pictures on facebook at a frat party doesn't constitute and invasion of privacy since the information is available to the public

     

     

  41. Ariella
    March 13, 2012

    @Susan While I treat Facebook as a pubic forum and do not post anything of a very personal nature, I know many people who do. They post all about their relationships, including their romantic attachments and breakups. Often the people they are involved with are also on FB and named as such. I do wonder what privacy settings one of my FB connections used because she went through the details of her illness and surgery. She asked if she can hide this information from a prospective employer, and I was wondering how she hopes to get away with that when she posted it on FB. 

  42. Ariella
    March 13, 2012

    @Jaden you're right about posts that are public. But some people post to FB with pictures and status updates that can only be seen by the level of friends they designate. It seems that access to these more private posts is what is requested, and that seems to cross a line beyond the standard background check for criminal records and public presence on the internet. 

  43. Susan Fourtané
    March 13, 2012

    Jaden, 

    On Facebook the information is not available to the public if you have set the privacy of your posts right. The information is available to whom who have chosen to make it available to, and not to anyone else. 

    I don't believe it's legal if someone decides to hire or not to hire someone based on what the person posts on Facebook, personal life, etc. An employer should only be interested in how the prospective employee is going to perform in the company.

    It's always a bonus if the person in question is a remarkable human being with high values and feelings. But you can't really discriminate someone for what he or she posts on Facebook. 

    -Susan 

  44. bolaji ojo
    March 13, 2012

    Susan, While I agree with you, I believe perhaps too much sharing is going on in social media. If you put yourself out there so much and there's information pertinent to how you might conduct yourself at a company if employed by them, the potential employer may feel free to act on these. You might not know that's why you didn't get hired (they'll tell you if that was why you got the job) but it will factor in.

  45. JADEN
    March 13, 2012

     

    @Ariella,

    In the case of employer requesting for the access to employee fb private post when hiring, it might be to get the detail information and getting to know more about the applicants brfore hiring.  It can be a crossed line after the employee has been engaged.

  46. JADEN
    March 13, 2012

    @ Susan,

    I quite understand and agree with you. I have a facebook account, I set some privacy on some posts and pictures.  You can tell about someone through the kind of company he keep, so as friends circle in facebook from the post you exchange. Facebook gives a preview into the character and potential of future employees. By taking a look at a future employee's information on the profiles and other features of facebook, the employers can be sure that whoever they hire will fit into their organization and company better.  For example organizations like churches, religious organization and political organization who require future employees to have specific religious and political views or belong to certain doctrines and philosophies. Instead of having to take chances that the person they hire has actually developed the same vies as the company, the employers can check the information on facebook and therefore pick only the candidates whose profiles and posted information indicates they have the same religious or political views as the organization.

    If employer think it is the best way to get what they want, and an employee think he/she has nothing to hide, I don't see any problem in that.  This is not a discrimination but a choice.

     


  47. Ariella
    March 13, 2012

    @Bolaji If the public posts are what make the company question your character, that's one thing. Anyone who posts publicly has to assume the consequences for whatever will be associated with his/her name on a public forum. But if someone set it on a private settings for friends only and does not have everything on his/her wall set for public view, it seems to me that they should not be coereced to show the private posts to the employer. 

    That being said, people should be aware of the fact that no privacy setting is absolutely secure and that they should really avoid posting anything that they wouldn't want publicized. Some people are even cautious about putting anything really personal in an email sent in confidence to a friend lest that go awry. 

  48. Barbara Jorgensen
    March 13, 2012

    I think this issue is going to move rather quickly. Another case has come to light: A middle school that has asked for and received a student's Facebook password several times. The student had been complaining about a hall monitor not liking her. On one hand, you have something like Columbine that justifies school access to fb pages. On the other, you have a typical student complaint. Obviously, there needs to be a standard. There have also been a number of cases where teachers have been fired for complaining about students on their personal fb pages. The public vs. private issue is really going to be a tough one to call.

  49. Susan Fourtané
    March 15, 2012

    Bolaji, 

    Yes, I also agree that too much sharing is going on in social media. However, all this topic is not an easy issue. If I were to hire a person, and checking his/her Facebook profile I notice a drinking habit that includes weekdays, I would consider the application twice, and most likely I would prefer someone who doesn't have a heavy drinking habit, instead.

    Now, doesn't this puts me in a judgemental position, and maybe this person's drinking habit doesn't affect his/her professional performance in the company? Where do you draw the line? 

    -Susan 

     

  50. Adeniji Kayode
    March 15, 2012

    I certainly agree with you JADEN, If I am in such a situation whereby i have to release my FB password, i will do that because my FB does not contain stuffs that can be of harm to anybody

  51. Susan Fourtané
    March 15, 2012

    Ariella, 

    “She asked if she can hide this information from a prospective employer, and I was wondering how she hopes to get away with that when she posted it on FB.”

    Yes, she can hide that information from the public view and make it available only for the people she wants. There is an option for this. If she posted the information time ago and worries now about it, she can go back in her timeline and hide that piece of information.

    -Susan 

     

  52. Susan Fourtané
    March 15, 2012

    Jaden, 

    What about people who don't post anything about religion or/and politics? Or what about those who don't have any religious or political views or preferences? 

    And wouldn't it be easier to ask about such topics during an interview instead of sneaking into someone's Facebook profile? In the case of a church or a religious organization, as you mentioned, wouldn't it be offensive, and against all the high values of truth and honesty to do such a thing? I believe it would. What do you think? 

    This whole topic is an ethical issue, and people don't seem to see it clearly. 

    -Susan 

  53. Ariella
    March 15, 2012

    @Susan she may have it set on some privacy. But that doesn't mean the information can't be found once it's out there. Some services specialize in finding personal information that can be gleaned from Facebook posts and phots, even the ones that people believe are private. For a small fee, the services will allow people to see the information, supposedly for the sake of individuals who want to become more aware of what can be seen about them online. So if someone has a condition that one wishes to keep private, it is a very bad idea to bring it up many times in supposed confidence to a circle of several hundred friends. 

  54. Susan Fourtané
    March 15, 2012

    Ariella, 

    That brings us to square one: if you want to keep something private, keep it for yourself. Or if she wanted to share her condition so badly with a selected group of people there is always the email option, and phone calls, and even going for coffee if they are in the same city. 

    -Susan

  55. Ariella
    March 15, 2012

    @Susan I agree. You have to realize that anything you post may get beyond your restricted circle. Sometimes there are major consequnces as in the case of the teacher whose career nearly came to an end due to Facebook posts. 

  56. itguyphil
    March 18, 2012

    Well yes. Those items make some sort of sense to the employer wanting to protect their image and brand. But social content?? I guess you could see how it might factor in but when does your personal life end when it comes to employers demands?? That's where the slippery slope begins.

  57. Ariella
    March 18, 2012

    @pocharles Absolutely. In the discussion surrounding the 12 year-old girls whose school is demanding access to her FB password http://www.allfacebook.com/school-makes-12-year-old-surrender-facebook-password-2012-03 many of the comments worry that is a slippery slope that would lead to the possibility of employers making such demands. They seem to assume that no one would find the prospect acceptable.

  58. itguyphil
    March 18, 2012

    That sounds exactly like what I was thinking. Sadly, this is a young person facing this issue. Just imagine the ramifications when adults are forced up the same flagpole??

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