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Employment, Hot Topics - News, Social Media

Still Not Clear if it’s Legal or not for Employers to ask for Facebook Passwords

So back on March 8, 2012 I posted that it’s legal for employers to ask for your Facebook password.

CBS This Morning Hosts (left to right) Gayle King, Charlie Rose, Erica Hill

Today on the CBS This Morning show, this was refuted. One of the cohosts, Gayle King, spoke with Jeffrey Hancock, assistant professor of Communication and chairman of the Information Science Department at Cornell University, and he said that it is not legal for employers to ask for Facebook passwords.  Gayle King pointedly asked him to specify whether or not it’s legal and he said no it’s not more than once.

Yet I see another article today on this same topic from the Associate Press some hours later, whereby they say that job seekers are getting asked for Facebook passwords. If job seekers aren’t asked for  usernames and passwords they are instead asked “to friend human resource managers or to log in to a company computer during an interview.” “Asking for a candidate’s password is more prevalent among public agencies, especially those seeking to fill law enforcement positions such as police officers or 911 dispatchers.” But there is “proposed legislation in Illinois and Maryland that would forbid public agencies from asking for access to social networks.”

 BEWARE: companies are “also using third-party applications to scour Facebook profiles… One app called BeKnown can sometimes access personal profiles, short of wall messages, if a job seeker allows it.”

Now get this:

“Giving out Facebook log in information violates the social network’s terms of service. But those terms have no real legal weight, and experts say the legality of asking for such information remains murky.”

“The Department of Justice regards it as a federal crime to enter a social networking site in violation of the terms of service, but during recent congressional testimony, the agency said such violations would not be prosecuted.”

 Say what?

I wonder why this isn’t a bigger news item and a We are the 99% agenda considering we still have an unemployment problem in this country. Stay tuned people…


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