Have you been asked for your Facebook password by an employer (or potential employer)?
The fact that some employers or prospective employers HAVE wrestled Facebook passwords from employees or job applicants -- or force applicants to allow prying eyes to watch as they scroll through their accounts -- This is a hot topic across all media outlets nationwide right now. Even Facebook posted a press release
strongly condemning the practice. Facebook warned employers not to demand the passwords of job applicants, saying it is an invasion of their privacy and violates Facebook's Terms of Service. The ACLU has also come out against the practice, saying it is out of bounds. Even Congress has jumped on the bandwagon, drafting new legislation that would forbid the practice.
But some legislators arent waiting for new legislation. [continued below]....
..... This weekend Senators Chuck Schumer of New York and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut HAVE CALLED on the Department of Justice and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to launch investigations into whether the practice violates existing federal lawS. Now LOCAL law firms are joining the ACLU and Facebook in the fight against these abuses.
Attorneys across the country are looking for help from people like you in identifying which companies and organizations are engaged in this despicable practice.
The message theyre sending these employers is clear. In order to get a job, you shouldnt be forced to share the personal information on your Facebook page with an HR rep or anyone else. Put simply: what you and your friends choose to share with one another is none of their business. HOW can you help stop this abuse of corporate power?
Ripoff Report wants to hear from you if you were asked to share your Facebook or other social media page with an employer or potential employer. With your permission, Ripoff Report will share this information with attorneys who are currently investigating these practices. It doesnt matter if the company interviewing demanded your password or requested you to friend them. Their motive was the same: illegally learn as much private information as they can about you. If youve been a victim of this egregious breach of privacy, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Whether you want to join a class action lawsuit or simply report a company engaging in this practice, you can be sure that your voice will be heard. It would be best if you filed your own detailed Ripoff Report explaining your situation, then send us a link to the Report you filed.
OLD ISSUE, NEW ATTENTION
The issue of employers asking for access to social media sites isnt new. In 2010, Robert Collins took a leave of absence from his job as a security guard at the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services after his mothers death. During a reinstatement interview, Collins claims he was asked for his Facebook log-in and password so the agency could purportedly check for any gang affiliations. He was stunned by the request but complied because he needed the job to feed his family. The ACLU stepped in and made a video of Collins talking about the experience that was posted on YouTube.
My personal communications, my personal posts, my personal pictures, looking at my personally identifiable information, where my religious beliefs, my political beliefs, my sexuality all of these things are possibly disclosed on this page," Collins tells the camera. "It's absolute total invasion and overreach." The ACLU of Maryland posted the video after a letter sent to the Public Safety Secretary went unanswered. The DPSCS finally changed its practices only after the video went viral.
The ACLU is also currently helping a 12-year-old sue her school district after she was forced to hand over her Facebook credentials. Heres what the ACLU has to say about employers seeking passwords:
Its an invasion of privacy for private employers to insist on looking at peoples private Facebook pages as a condition of employment or consideration in an application process, ACLU attorney Catherine Crump said in a statement. People are entitled to their private lives. Youd be appalled if your employer insisted on opening up your postal mail to see if there was anything of interest inside.
Of course, Congress should pass legislation prohibiting any employer or school from accessing your private social networking information. It should state unequivocally that any personal information requiring a password means "stay out" -- whether you're an employer, a school or the government. End-runs around password protection, like asking an employee to login so someone can take a look, are also unacceptable.
It has become common for managers to review publicly available Facebook profiles, Twitter accounts and other sites to learn more about job candidates. One action you can take right now is adjusting your Facebook and Twitter privacy settings to only allow friends access to them. However, this doesnt prevent you from being a victim of an employer who asks you to voluntarily surrender your login information, or friend them. This puts the personal information of both you and your friends at risk. To justify their actions
, many employers cite non-disparagement agreements that ban employees from speaking negatively about an employer on social networking sites. This agreement, they claim, gives them the right to ask for your most personal information on the pretext that it will be used only to check for non-disparagement agreement violations. You should be suspicious of these claims. Such requests are akin to employers asking for access to your personal diary or to wear a wire when hanging out with your friends. FACEBOOK WARNS EMPLOYERS TO CUT IT OUT
In a note on their Facebook and privacy page, Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan wrote: We don't think employers should be asking prospective employees to provide their private information and communications just to get a job. And as the friend of a user, you shouldn't have to worry that your private information or communications will be revealed to someone you don't know and didn't intend to share with just because that user is looking for a job. That's why we've made it a violation of Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities to share or solicit a Facebook password.
Despite the publics outcry at the practice, it appears that employers across the country arent listening. In fact, it seems the practice of forcing you to give up your most personal information is on the upswing. IF THIS HAS HAPPENED TO YOU
, you dont have to remain silent. Send Ripoff Report an email today TO email@example.com and tell us about your experiences with employers who try to gain access to the personal detail of your life. If you wish, an attorney can review your information to see if you may have a claim. Doing nothing is what these privacy-invading employers want you to do. Help us fight back by telling us your story!