It'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?
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