Nosy Employers Want Your Facebook Password: What Should You Do?

Tech Talk 53

facebook passwordIt's nerve-racking enough to think about your boss looking at your Facebook profile (what if he/she doesn't think that photo of your dog wearing a sweater is as funny as you do?). But now comes news of a trend that's even more alarming: Some employers are actually asking their employees for their Facebook passwords so they can have unlimited access to their accounts. The practice is most common among potential employers and colleges requiring such information from applicants. But there's one report of an employee at the Maryland Department of Corrections who was asked for his password after working there for several years, and, likely, there are others.

Can you imagine having to hand over such private information? My blood is boiling at the very thought!

On the one hand, it's understandable why a potential employer would be so cautious: They want to know as much as they can about who they're hiring. On the other, this is an unacceptable invasion of privacy. Some companies have adopted the more "voluntary" practice of "shoulder surfing" as a "compromise" -- asking people to log into their profiles and click through private messages, photos, wall posts, and other items as the employer watched. Even that seems like something that would make me very uncomfortable.

So what can you do should this happen to you? Facebook does have a policy against sharing passwords, but until the social network officially addresses whether this practice is violation of it terms, your hands may be tied -- especially if you really want the job. I suppose you could just delete everything that could be perceived as troublesome and unfriend all the dicey people on your friends list; it's never a bad thing to be more discrete online.

Me? I don't have anything up there of concern, but I'd be so freaked out about someone having my password that I'd probably just delete the account altogether.

Would you ever give your employer your Facebook password?


Image via [F]oxymoron/Flickr

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Krist... KristinRox

No I wouldnt give my employer my password. Not that I have anything in this world to hide. Canada/ USA is a free country we are entitled to privacy. If a company is trying to blackmail me into giving up my privacy its not a company Id like to work for. 

Rachel Schiller

No. And I would not allow "shoulder surfing". And if it cost me the job I would hire a lawyer.

Mandago Mandago

I absolutely would not. That's a gross invasion of privacy. I have no interest in working for an employer with such a lack of boundaries.

nonmember avatar Q

Wow, I agree! I only have about 30 close friends on my FB and nothing alarming, but this still freaks me out! This is just bizarre. Fortunately, I work mainly with liberals and libertarians! When I fwd this to my boss, he will probably come into my office and rant!!

dirti... dirtiekittie

i'm still trying to figure out HOW this can be LEGALLY justified by potential employers? i don't have a FB, but they could just as easily say "oh, give us your passwords to your yahoo email" or something. what could that have to do with my employment?

Melis... Melissa042807

Not just no, but HELL no. That is my personal, private account. If a boss or potential boss wants to check out my profile, I will gladly oblige. But my password? Uh-uh. That would be a dealbreaker. I would not want to work for a place like that. 

Tracey Plummer

I would not hand over my password to my daughter, so why would I give it to someone who isn't even related to me? Not going to happen. Now, if an employer insists on seeing my facebook page, fine. Wall posts and photos are harmless enough, but no way would I share my private messages, especially since all that is relevant is what is seen by the public (ie your "friends"). Private messages are private for a reason, and I don't see how any employer could legally demand that information.

Jessica Moe

I would never want to work for a place that would ask for my password. Would they like to come rifle through my drawers at home as well? You've got to be kidding me. This is an outrage.

Ranch... RanchMaMa127

And yet It's probably illegal for police to request such information even if they think they have a good reason. Search warrant anyone?

jaymisue jaymisue

they have no right to ask for your password no matter what. although i should say no one should be on their FB while at work... if it is THAT personal to you, wait until you get home to check your FB or only check it on your phone... FB is not a software program for any company therefore it is a violation of your rights for them to demand your password....

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