Employers asking applicants for Facebook passwords
When Justin Bassett interviewed for a new job, he expected the usual questions about experience and references. But he was astonished when the interviewer asked for something else: his Facebook username and password. Bassett, a New York City statistician, had just finished answering a few character questions when the interviewer turned to her computer to search for his Facebook page. But she couldn't see his private profile. She turned back and asked him to hand over his login information. Bassett refused and withdrew his application, saying he didn't want to work for a company that would seek such personal information. But as the job market steadily improves, other job candidates are confronting the same question from prospective employers—and some of them cannot afford to say no. In their efforts to vet applicants, some companies and government agencies are going beyond merely glancing at a person's social networking profiles and instead asking to log in as the user to have a look around. Companies that don't ask for passwords have taken other steps, such as asking applicants to friend human resource managers or to log in to a company computer during an interview. Once employed, some workers have been required to sign non-disparagement agreements that ban them from expressing negative views about their employer on social media. Questions have been raised about the legality of such practices, some of which are also the focus of proposed legislation in Illinois and Maryland that would forbid public agencies from asking for access to social networks. The Associated Press has the full story here.
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