Social Question

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

Should a prospective employer be able to ask for all your social media passwords during the application process, including Facebook?

Asked by Espiritus_Corvus (17223points) April 4th, 2013

Isn’t this like handing over your house keys under duress? Are they going too far? Isn’t this a tad invasive? Should an employer have access to your private life when you are not at work, 24/7? What do you think of this?

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34 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

Absolutely not. And that is all that needs to be said about that.

rebbel's avatar

Well, the prospective employer should be able to ask (he/she can ask anything they like for all that I care), but you are as able as he/she is to refuse to answer (without it having negative influence on your chances to get the job).
But something tells me, that if someone is asking for such personal things and gets denied, it will be of influence…

rojo's avatar

This is a 1st amendment issue (free speech), a 4th amendment issue (unreasonable search), a 5th amendment issue (self-incrimination) and probably a 9th amendment issue as well (protection of rights not enumerated). I think it probably violates the 2nd too since everything else seems to but I cannot make the tie-in yet.

RandomGirl's avatar

@rojo: If someone tries to make it a 2nd amendment issue, they’re nuts. And that’s coming from a hardcore conservative.

josie's avatar

See above.
They can ask. You can refuse to divulge.
Then the chips will fall.

whitenoise's avatar

I doubt that they are even allowed to ask in many jurisdictions. Like asking about sexual orientation, or possible pregnancy is often not allowed.

I think it shouldn’t be allowed. In interviews there is an uneven power balance and these types of privacy infringements have no place there.

glacial's avatar

@rojo That was funny. :)

livelaughlove21's avatar

Passwords? Hell no. Should they be able to look at your Facebook? Sure.

Seek's avatar

Any company that is that concerned with my personal life is too close to home for me to want to work for, that’s for certain. I mean, feel free to stalk my name. You’ll see exactly what I want you to see. No more, no less.

gorillapaws's avatar

It’s not in an employer’s best interest either, because it exposes them to the potential of discrimination lawsuits. “You didn’t hire me (give me a promotion, etc.) because I’m buddhist, and you know this because you were snooping on my Facebook account.” The less an employer knows about an employee’s religion, or sexual orientation, etc. the safer the employer is from a labor suit.

zenvelo's avatar

No, it has been outlawed in California. And it has been demonstrated as not being germane to hiring.

@rojo It is not a 1st amendment or 4th amendment issue, unless it is the government insisting on access. The Bill of Rights protects us from government interference, not from each other.

KNOWITALL's avatar

I think it’s rude and invasive, but I have nothing to hide on my fb, so I’d probably hand it over.

marinelife's avatar

They could ask, but they wouldn’t get mine.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@marinelife But why? You have a lot of nude pics on your own fb or what? I don’t see what there is to hide really.

marinelife's avatar

@KNOWITALL My privacy. My social networking is not of concern to my employer. it is done outside of work. It should not be involved in hiring decisions.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@marinelife I agree with you, seriously, I don’t think I’d let it become a deal beaker though.

Seek's avatar

@KNOWITALL A-Number-One: Are they giving you theirs? I mean, if they have nothing to hide, they should give you their password, right?

B. It’s none of my prospective employer’s business what I do with my friends or family. If I want to hang out at fetish clubs on the weekend letting nude people urinate on me, that’s none of their damn business. If I do have a lot of nude pics on my facebook, that’s my right.

C. I have friends that trust me with THEIR private information. So you and a friend have a private message conversation about some seriously delicate topics. Now your boss knows. The world is a small place. Your boss tells her hair dresser who happens to be your friend’s cousin.

Not even things that need to be debated.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Seek_Kolinahr Cool, I was just curious. I’m more the ‘read then burn this’ type – lol

Seek's avatar

FWIW – none of the above apply to me, in case my grandchildren find this page someday.

ragingloli's avatar

You do not need anything to hide. Your everyday political beliefs, hobbies, or religous persuasion can be enough for the employer to get rid of you.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@ragingloli And THAT is exactly my point, how would they get out of a discrimination case if they opened anyone’s fb? Seems like they’d put themselves at major risk.

ragingloli's avatar

@KNOWITALL
Try proving that they fired you because of stuff on facebook. They most likely will not tell you the real reason for firing you and make one up that passes a judge’s muster.

jerv's avatar

Only if I get their credentials (passwords and PINs) for their bank. If I cannot access their info, they aren’t getting access to mine, beyond that which is public and available to all.

dans_lux_improvidus's avatar

Any prospective employer will not get any of my passwords. My currrent employer won’t either, including passwords to their systems.

I wouldn’t want to work for an employer that tries to get this information.

Jeruba's avatar

Handing over a Facebook account name and handing over your personal password (which could also be, say, your bank account or credit card password) are two drastically different things. In today’s social environment, the first is probably inevitable; but I don’t think the second should be considered acceptable under any circumstances. I would not hand over my purse for them to look through or, as you say, my house keys.

Why should I trust some clerical assistant in an HR department with a way to potentially access all my private information everywhere? I think the expectation is outrageous.

A few years back I declined a drug test and withdrew my application from a prospective employer even though I was not using any drugs. I didn’t like the intrusive “prove-your-innocence” approach and didn’t want to work for a company that viewed employees that way. If I ever gave them reason to ask, that would be different.

Seek's avatar

Yeah! You go, @Jeruba !!

gorillapaws's avatar

@Jeruba “which could also be, say, your bank account or credit card password”

While I realize this is very common, PEOPLE SHOULD NEVER, EVER DO THIS!!!

Use a password manager like 1Password to generate, store and enter random alphanumeric passwords. Hackers are constantly breaking less protected sites (and sometimes well-protected sites) and downloading the lists of usernames and passwords. As an example, if jeruba@gmail is your username and LurveME111 is your password to a site like LinkedIn that got hacked last year and you’re using the same username and password for your bank there’s a good chance that you’ll start seeing money transfers to China, or Russia.

This still doesn’t change the fact that it’s a bad idea for employers to invade privacy like this, and I applaud your stand on the drug test.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@rebbel In the US, there are actually several questions that interviewers are not allowed to ask precisely because it is believed there is no reason to ask them unless you have discriminatory intentions or because any answer to them—including refusal—would be expected to introduce bias into the process.

Judi's avatar

I don’t think I would want anyone working for me who would agree to this.

deni's avatar

Wow, sure, freedom of speech, but that is outrageous and I would hope no one would cooperate with a company that would require that.

phaedryx's avatar

Absolutely not

Like @SavoirFaire says, there are a lot of things that you can’t ask: native language, nationality, age, race, religion, marital status, height, weight, if she’s pregnant, if he/she drinks, etc.; any of which open a company up to a discrimination lawsuit.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

@phaedryx You are right, but since they apparently are allowed to ask for your Facebook password (and let’s not kid ourselves, in this job market, this is a naked demand, not a passive suggestion) they will probably find out all of the things you have listed above including discussions you have with family and friends concerning personal dillemnas, problems with a delinquent child, even sexual fantasies. It is happening right now and people who need jobs to feed their families in a tight job market are reluctant to protest—and trust me, the growing number of companies who are adapting this HR policy know this and are taking full advantage.

SavoirFaire's avatar

@Espiritus_Corvus The legality of this demand is murky—at best—and six states have already passed laws clarifying that it is in fact illegal. Note that I said “clarifying.” These laws make it unequivocal that asking for a social networking password is illegal, but that does not mean doing so is not already illegal even without these laws.

dans_lux_improvidus's avatar

At any rate, My media accounts are private, limited to family and friends. This certainly wouldn’t include an employer. For me, no job is worth that sort of breach.

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