Facebook Fights Back

by Cathy Vandewater | March 23, 2012

Think it stinks to be asked for you Facebook log ins at a job interview?

Good news: so does Facebook.

In a note published on the social media website early this morning, Erin Egan, the Chief Privacy Officer, Policy makes it clear that he doesn't really appreciate employers undermining all the work Facebook has done to give users privacy control.

He also sternly warned employers against accidental viewing of "protected group" information which could lead to legal trouble.

Of course, Egan knows what he's talking about: Facebook, especially with its new timeline layout, documents everything from age, marital status, ethnic background, citizenship, and sexual orientation, just to name a few.

If an interviewer asks to view this information in the context of an interview then doesn't hire the candidate, they're opening the company up to all kinds of discrimination complaints, claims, and suits. 

There's also a question of the safety of the person's contacts on Facebook, who have nothing to do with the interview process, and can't legally give their permission to have their information released.

Since privacy settings often grant "friends" more access to personal stuff on Facebook, a recruiter logged into a strangers account would have free reign of photos, status updates, and more--which could lead to trouble down the road if, as Egan notes, "responsibilities... arise based on different types of information (e.g. if the information suggests the commission of a crime)."

Though promises for action are general at this point, Egan promises users that "Facebook takes your privacy seriously," and that the company will take some kind of action soon, "whether by engaging policymakers or, where appropriate, by initiating legal action,  including by shutting down applications that abuse their priveleges."

--Cathy Vandewater, Vault.com

Read More:
Protecting Your Password and Your Privacy (Facebook)
Should You Share Your Facebook Password With Your Employer?

Filed Under: Interviewing | Job Search | Networking | Workplace Issues


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