Social Question

NerdyKeith's avatar

Can a potential employer or college institution demand to see your Facebook profile if it is set to private?

Asked by NerdyKeith (5464points) April 4th, 2016

I’ve noticed some employers are asking for Facebook profile links, in some job applications. Do they have a legal right to ask for such personal information?

Obviously you could always lie and tell them you are not a member of Facebook. But still. It seems like an invasion of privacy to me.

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8 Answers

Seek's avatar

They can demand all they want. I wouldn’t take a job that included such an invasion. They are hiring me for the hours for which they are paying me. What I do while not on the clock is none of their business.

CWOTUS's avatar

Facebook profile links are one thing; my FB profile is public anyway (hell, my former boss and his wife were both FB friends), and if they asked in a nice way I probably wouldn’t hide my public face from them. Those who demand FB passwords, however, I’d just give the ol’ side-eye and ask, WTF for?

zenvelo's avatar

Not in California. In California it’s against the law to ask for a password or user name.

But anything set to public is fair game.

jca's avatar

Someone in law enforcement at work told me that what they do to new hires is tell them they’re going into a room with another officer and they’re going to log on to their FB account and the officer is going to look through their FB. Therefore, they’re not giving any password info up, they’re opening the account up for the officer to look through. The person could refuse but then the job could always find a reason why that person is not the “best fit for the job.”

Zaku's avatar

It’s an unfair and unreasonable power play or negligent scumery, for most positions, in my opinion, because it should be irrelevant and none of their business, for most business relationships. As @Seek wrote, I would consider such a request a… good early warning for me, that they’re people I don’t wish to work with. I would also tend to tell the story publicly, using their company name, but not mine, some time after the fact, so as to discourage this (IMO scumtard) behavior, and to warn others.

It’s also one of several good reasons to use an alias on Facebook, and/or have an official account that is politically correct, and (if you even want a Facebook account) another account under an alias, which doesn’t exist as far as scumtards ever need to know. That last bit is officially against the terms of “service” of Facebook, but they’re scumtards too. It’s also prudent to assume than anything on “your” Facebook account can be seen and used or sold or lost at any time, since they have few-to-none morals, are a sneaky creepy company, and change their policies all the time.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

If they ask it’s a que to not work there. It’s pretty common for employers to look at open accounts. I have seen hiring managers go through a stack of resumes and hit every open facebook page. It’s a window into what that person is really like. It’s going to be some of the best info to see if someone is going to fit in or not. It goes without saying that you don’t post anything that will disqualify you or just don’t have a facebook account at all. That said I keep work people on mine including my current and old supervisor. It can be a way to network and build trust. I think it’s a scary development that employers are bold enough to ask for your password

Stinley's avatar

It would be specific to the laws of your country. In the UK asking for a username and password probably breaches data protection laws, although there is not much case law to support this.

I found this document relating to Irish law. it says:
There is no Irish legislation prohibiting an employer requesting login details. However, when an employer reviews a job candidate’s social media accounts, two issues should be considered.

Candidates are protected by the employment equality legislation which prohibits discrimination on the grounds of gender, civil or family status, sexual orientation, religious belief, age, disability, race or nationality or membership of the Traveller community. An employer could be liable under equality legislation if a candidate can show that the reason he/she was not offered a job was connected with material relevant to one of the prohibited grounds and seen by the prospective employer on the candidate’s social media accounts.

Data protection legislation and guidance issued by the Data Protection Commissioner suggests that employers must, at a minimum, advise candidates that online screening will take place, explain what form it will take and why screening is considered necessary having regard to the nature of the job. Other data protection obligations, including how a candidate’s personal data gleaned in the screening process should be stored and protected from unnecessary dissemination, must also be considered.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

The laws protecting our rights to privacy in this case are unenforceable and every one knows it. There is no mechanism forcing an employer to divulge truthfully why someone is or is not hired. This is one of those times when a right can be lost unless people actively protect it by refusing to bend to these requests, even if it means not getting the job. One must make a stand, or this will become commonplace, then acceptable, then expected.

The simplest answer is to not have FB type accounts. As long as there are other ways to communicate with friends and family electronically, these accounts are superfluous and are more trouble than they are worth.

I’m no longer in the competitive job market, but I wonder if I would even be believed if I told an interviewer that I have never had a MySpace or FB account. I wonder if this would leave just the slightest negative impression.

Speak out against this ridiculous invasion of privacy every chance you get. You should be as outraged by this trend as you would be if a potential employer asked if you went to a church or synagogue, or if you were heterosexual, or if you had any negro blood in your veins—question that were, at one time, very common.

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