Should you give an employer your Facebook password?
As a data privacy executive certified in information privacy, I say NO. Your Facebook account is personal.
In 2012, Maryland banned employers from asking job applicants and employees their social media account passwords. Besides, sharing your password with employers is an invasion of privacy and it violates Facebook’s registration and account use policy in their Statement of Rights and Responsibilities:
You will not share your password (or in the case of developers, your secret key), let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account.
Some utilize the shoulder surfing technique. That is, in an interview, the interviewee is asked by the interviewer to log into their Facebook account and scroll through the timeline, clicking through posts and pictures, etc.
To the employer, there’s nothing wrong because you voluntarily entered your password and it’s not unauthorized access. They asked you and you obliged. No issue. No violation. You had a choice to say no. To the job seeker, you want a job and you don’t want a refusal on your part to indicate that you have issues or you have something to hide.
Some organizations even ask for applicant’s Twitter username in job applications (and it is a required field, not optional). If you don’t submit it, you cannot proceed with the job application. (That’s another topic for discussion. One issue at a time please 🙂
A Social Media Word of Caution
If you have Facebook friends who work with you, they aren’t obligated to protect whatever you have posted. What stops an employer from asking a staff member who is your friend on Facebook to show them your wall? Nothing. So, take heed. If you don’t want it to be shared, don’t post it.
If you are ever faced with this kind of situation (whether to give an employer your Facebook password), respectfully decline the request. Say “No.” If you have a LinkedIn profile already, direct them there. It is a serious threat to your privacy to share your password. Know your rights and learn to say NO.
QUESTION: What’s your take on employers demanding Facebook passwords from staff or job applicants? Should people who desperately need jobs oblige?
Image credit: sxc