Social Question

tranquilsea's avatar

What would you do if a potential employer asked for your Facebook ID and password so they could access your posts before considering you for a job?

Asked by tranquilsea (17655points) March 20th, 2012

Apparently, some employers are doing exactly this.

What would you do? Give it to them? Tell them to stick their request where the sun don’t shine?

What do you think of this practice?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

61 Answers

syz's avatar

I have never been in the position of needing a particular job badly enough to submit to that sort of invasion of privacy.

tranquilsea's avatar

Can you imagine if you did need the job that badly though?

What gross violation of privacy.

blueiiznh's avatar

simple for me and truth, I don’t have facebook.

But on a different level, if this happened to me when I was interviewing, I would know then and there that I would not want to work for this company. Don’t drink the Kool-Aide.
See ya later, ta-ta, find another sucker.

jerv's avatar

I would let them know that the ACLU may wish to have some words with them about that, and then leave. If they were lucky…

tranquilsea's avatar

This almost like them asking you to submit all your text messages for them to review.

Fly's avatar

This is completely out of bounds and extremely invasive. If I was extremely desperate for a job, I might explain that I only allow this information to be seen by friends and family, and keep my profile private for that reason, so as to give them the opportunity to accept this personal choice. But I would under no circumstances actually give them this very private information. Otherwise, I would be so disgusted that I had even been asked this question that I would walk out then and there. Could you imagine what else they would ask you, should you be hired, if they asked this during the interview?

The most disturbing part of all is that they asked for his username and password as opposed to simply having him log in. While this is essentially equally invasive, they are asking for information which they could then use to access his page at any time, and which could also apply to other accounts and private information. They could essentially use this information as surveillance! This whole scenario is just wrong on so many levels.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Tell them I don’t have a facebook account so I can’t honor their request.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I would give them the fake blank account I set up.

Blackberry's avatar

Not work there. I don’t know how they think they can do that.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I would say no. My profile is not even under my real name, but I would refuse on principle.

Berserker's avatar

Go look for another job.

rebbel's avatar

I would instantly unfriend him/her.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I did hear of a case recently in which schoolkids were told to give their FB passwords to the principal because they’d been accused of saying something offensive there (perhaps about another student, I don’t recall). I think this should be fought against, hard.

tedibear's avatar

I would refuse. Since my Facebook account is free of anything potentially incriminating for the job front, I wouldn’t mind accepting a friend request from the H.R. person. But I don’t give anyone my passwords for anything. Unless I was really hard up for a job, I would not want to work there anyway and would turn down any job offer short of a miracle.

Berserker's avatar

@dappled_leaves Aye. That principal thing is outrageous, what a disgusting lack of respect and privacy for the kids. I’d only consider forcing this if some students were suspected of a crime. But for jobs or because someone badmouthed someone else? The hell.

josie's avatar

For starters, it would be best if you did not have anything on your FB account that you have to make excuses for. Why would anybody do that? Having said it, a job interview goes both ways. They are interviewing you, you are interviewing them. I would ask for their Facebook ID.

Berserker's avatar

@josie Facebook shouldn’t have to be a vital element for getting a job or renting an apartment. :/

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Symbeline But even then – you’d report it to the police, and they could use whatever legal means to access that information. For the school to try to get it themselves really is outrageous, whatever the circumstances.

Berserker's avatar

@dappled_leaves True, true. They probably have professional detectives for online stuff, anyways.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

They would have to hire someone else, because I would not give them that information.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Anyone who does not disable their Facebook account prior to looking/interviewing for a job is not very smart.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@MollyMcGuire : Why should my private life be subject to whether or not I should be considered for a job? Shouldn’t that determination be made on my ability to perform the tasks required for the position I might be applying for?

rebbel's avatar

Why, @MollyMcGuire?
I have nothing on there that I should be ashamed of, or that could put a potential employer off.
I am the same on- and offline.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

A. Tell them I don’t have one.
B. Tell them it’s private and I only give it out to close friends and family.

Fly's avatar

@MollyMcGuire I completely disagree. Through a combination of privacy settings and personal discretion, there should be nothing on your profile visible to a potential employer that could put one’s employment in jeopardy. The principle of the matter is that one should not have to take down one’s profile or worry about being asked for this information in the first place.

YARNLADY's avatar

I don’t have a facebook account

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Then you have nothing to worry about. Employers now go through FB pages (that they are able to see) with a fine tooth comb. Even your grammar is considered. The posts and comments made by your friends is viewed. They can come up with ideas about your character and personality. It’s certainly no big to deactivate your account while you are searching for a job. After you are employed, turn it back on. @Hawaii_Jake @rebbel

Only138's avatar

Unzip my pants, and tell em’ to suck it. :)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I would say “Sure, but don’t be surprised at what you see.”

josie's avatar

@Symbeline Facebook shouldn’t have to be a vital element for getting a job or renting an apartment
A normative statement. Who says it shouldn’t be. Is your public arrest record an element. Are other public records suddenly off limits. There is no reasonable expectation of privacy when you put yourself on Facebook. You will not win that argument.

Bellatrix's avatar

[Edited by me].

My personal Facebook page has little connection to who I am as a person outside of my work. Most of the ‘friends’ and ‘likes’ I have there are related to research I am doing. I wouldn’t care if they looked at that. It is mostly about my work anyway.

Other than that I see this as an example of why we should be cautious about what we post on our Facebook pages etc. generally. Many employers are already apparently surreptitiously checking out potential employees. I feel sure there are people out there who can hack into such sites if someone really, really wanted to see what you posted. Someone with more experience in terms of computers and security would need to answer that though.

I do agree asking for passwords is a breach of privacy. I think whether it was an acceptable breach would depend on the type of job you were going for. I am thinking intelligence jobs, some levels of government, where it might be understandable that the employer would want a more developed view of ‘who’ you are.

janbb's avatar

Depends on how badly I needed the job.

MollyMcGuire's avatar

Guys, the OP said the employer asked for her FB password, not just her FB ID. To that I think I would simply say no. Then I might add but you can send me a friend request. Then I can control what that person sees.

Berserker's avatar

@josie I know. That kinda was my point.

janbb's avatar

@MollyMcGuire That makes sense.

josie's avatar

@Symbeline Oh sorry. Missed the point :)

King_Pariah's avatar

Password? Ta ta and fuck off!

in a much more civil manner

TexasDude's avatar

I’d be finding another damn job.

Trillian's avatar

That is an HR violation. They can look at your public pages but password information? Not only no but hell no. If you know of a company that is actually asking for fb passwords, they need to be reported to the labor board.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Walk out immediately. Clearly this person has no respect for boundaries, and will be the boss from hell to end all bosses from hell. Seriously, don’t work for psychos.

Trillian's avatar

@dappled_leaves, on the other hand, what if there is bullying going on? This type of thing is a tough call, but consider; we’ve heard about young people who have been driven to suicide because of their gay encounters of leanings being made public. What if something like that is going on here? What if a kid is being bullied? If the principal does not do everything he can to get to the bottom of it and stop this and yet another tragedy occurs, who do you think the public is going to hold responsible?
I’ve seen posts on this very forum with the sentiment that this needs to be stopped. And rightly so.
Now I don’t know what’s going on at that particular school, maybe we should first find out why the principal ordered this. Where does badmouthing end and bullying/harassment begin?

Seaofclouds's avatar

I would never hand my password over to an employer (potential or actual). If they refused to hire me because I would not hand over my password, it would be their loss.

wundayatta's avatar

Hmmm. I think I’d set up a Facebook that said I was gay and black and female. I’d put up all kinds of other stuff that is legal and illegal to discriminate against.

Then, when I didn’t get the job, I’d sue the company for illegal discrimination on the basis of Facebook profile.

Or something along those lines.

If you give you company your private Facebook information, do they have an obligation to keep it secret? I have a feeling these demands will backfire and they could end up being served with all kinds of lawsuits because they didn’t protect the information they became privy to.

Ela's avatar

Before reading that article, I’d probably have stared at them in utter disbelieve for a moment and then ask where John was. It sounds like something off “What Would You Do?”

I’d probably laugh at them, they’d get pissed, end of interview.

[edited in] I deleted my FB awhile ago but reopened it to stay in closer touch with my friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer. She and her husband use it rather than always answering their phone (which rings off the hook between family and friends).

jca's avatar

I would say no and I would not want the job any more.

My FB is set so the privacy settings prohibit any non-friends from seeing anything other than my picture (which is not my picture) and little else.

DaphneT's avatar

The only correct answer is ” No. To do so would violate all computer and security principles.” This should have been considered a test question and you were given an opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of loyalty and security. Any other response is a can of worms. Don’t eat worms.

Keep in mind, any good company is tech savvy, but leery of carelessness. You may assume that they are conducting a background check via legal means and that is the only avenue they have for getting at information you may have on Facebook, Twitter and any other social networking site the company investigator is aware of.

Remember Can of worms. Don’t eat worms.

filmfann's avatar

There is nothing on my facebook page that I wouldn’t want others to know.
I think it would be foolish to put something on there that you didn’t want public.
That said, I wouldn’t want to work for a company that was so intrusive.
I would refuse.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@Trillian I agree that bullying is awful and damaging, but (and this is assuming it was a bullying situation) the principal’s response cannot be to demand that the presumed bully hand over his FB password. Nor can he tell the bully what to write or not write on his FB page. The victim can restrict the bully’s access on his own page, and choose what the bully sees – that is all in the victim’s control. In other words, the victim can ignore it. That’s probably just what he would have been told before FB ever existed.

If what the bully posted was threatening, then let a report be made to the police. They can take whatever legal means are necessary to see the page if they think they must. But the principal can’t have the power to invade any student’s privacy like that, whatever his suspicions may be.

Judi's avatar

I couldn’t imagine hiring someone stupid enough to give out their password.

ucme's avatar

Don’t have/need or want an account there, so I guess my answer is n/a.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I would give it to them because there is nothing on my facebook page that I am ashamed of. However, it would probably make me think twice about accepting the job if I was offered it because I’m not sure I would enjoy working for a company that is that suspicious. I guess it all depends on how desperate you are for work though. I would also wonder what they are looking for!

Edit: I’ve just re-read the question and I should say that I wouldn’t give them my password as it’s the same password I use for other things but I would login myself so they could have a look around.

downtide's avatar

I would point out that asking for a password is against the facebook terms of service, and maybe also against the law. Then I would politely withdraw my application and ask them to delete any personal details they have about me from their computers.

SpatzieLover's avatar

I would tell them the truth. The only reason I even opened an FB account was to get out of state relatives off my back. The great-aunts wanted photos of my kid. After a ton of prompting, I joined FB for the old ladies to enjoy photos & drawings from my kid. I do almost nothing but read articles on homeschooling on FB.

If they still wanted to see it, I might friend them (if the company seemed like a place I’d want to work). However, I’d never give my passwords out to anyone. Never. Ever.

WestRiverrat's avatar

If I had a facebook account and they asked for my password, I would sell it to them for nothing less than $100,000 a digit, in advance. And I like long passwords.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I would tell them they were full of shit, then get up and walk out.

filmfann's avatar

I would certainly want time to delete some of my posts, like:

“Wow, it took forever to get fired from my last job! Unemployment here I come! Anyone want to buy some office supplies?”

Berserker's avatar

@filmfann Lmao XD also I want some office supplies

Jeruba's avatar

Facebook has now taken a stand this practice.

flo's avatar

How could any interviewer (unless it is really a mon and pop size shop) not know that is a ridiculous thing to ask? Which company did that by the way? Is this info in the article? I don’t see it.

LuckyGuy's avatar

It looks like Facebook is fighting back .

PullMyFinger's avatar

I would tell them that I don’t have, have never had, nor ever will have a Facebook account, and that it is just a huge time-suck for validation-seeking nitwits who stare at their smartphones all day while their car drifts all over the place, then just sits there after the light turns green.

This would probably give me the inside track vs. many other applicants….

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