The first rule about the Internet is you don't talk about, or share, your Internet passwords. But that is exactly what some employers are asking job applicants to do: share their Facebook login and password.
As many of us know, Facebook users include a wide-rage of personal information on their profiles, including sex, age, religion and sexual orientation, all of which protected under federal equal opportunity employment laws.
After news of this hiring practice surfaced last week, Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer and Richard Blumenthal have now called on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to investigate whether this employer conduct violates federal law.
"In an age where more and more of our personal information — and our private social interactions — are online, it is vital that all individuals be allowed to determine for themselves what personal information they want to make public and protect personal information from their would-be employers," said Schumer in a statement. "This is especially important during the job-seeking process, when all the power is on one side of the fence."
Facebook has even weighed into this controversy, siding with the privacy of all its members. On Friday, the social media giant threatened potential legal action against employers who use this practice during the hiring process.
"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," Facebook said in a statement. "While we do not have any immediate plans to take legal action against any specific employers, we look forward to engaging with policy makers and other stakeholders, to help better safeguard the privacy of our users."
Regardless of your social media privacy settings, the reality is the Internet is a very public place. Most people who use Facebook are well aware that at some point a potential employer may try to look at their Facebook profile. But the idea that some employers are outright asking potential job candidates for a private Internet password is breach of privacy and just "outrageous" according The Daily Ticker's Henry Blodget.
"What else do you want? Do you want the keys to my house? Maybe my safety deposit box?," opines Henry. "Why don't you come rummage through my garbage — I mean really get to know me!"
Aaron Task agrees with that sentiment and says he'd walk right out the door if presented with such an invasive request. But that may be easier said than done, he concedes. For those millions of Americans who have been out of work for 99 months, or more, the decision to try to work somewhere else may not be an option.
Tell us what you think in the comments below! Should employers be allowed to ask prospective employees for Facebook logins and passwords?
- Chuck Schumer