Job Seekers Getting Asked For Facebook Passwords

In their efforts to screen job applicants, some employers are going beyond the usual questions about experience and references and asking for something else: Facebook usernames and passwords.

The practice seems to be more common among public agencies, especially those seeking to fill law enforcement positions such as police officers or 911 dispatchers. But it's happening in both the public and private sectors, and some job candidates cannot afford to say no.

Orin Kerr is a George Washington University law professor and former federal prosecutor. He says the practice is like "requiring someone's house keys."

Companies that don't ask for passwords have taken other steps -- such as asking applicants to friend human resource managers or to log in to a company computer during an interview.

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  • by No more privacy on Mar 20, 2012 at 12:22 PM
    If you use the Internet, your personal privacy is a thing of the past. Google saves all of your emails trying to figure out a way to make money off of them. You can be tracked if your cell phone is on... Your car's computer can be checked to see what you were doing before a crash...
  • by Privacy Hawk Location: Constitutionland on Mar 20, 2012 at 10:53 AM
    I have been telling people how stupid this mess is for years now, and they don't listen. George Orwell's 1984 is coming true right here in America and worldwide. What makes it worse is that a totalitarian government didn't force it on people, they did it to themselves, and even paid large sums of money for the equipment to spy on themselves. Pittiful.
  • by Citizen Location: Greenville on Mar 20, 2012 at 09:40 AM
    to "first": that is absolutely insane. Do not compare what a hiring organization does to McCarthyism (which was well founded by the way, as later investigations proved), or to voter ID (which is well founded by the way, as dead and duplicate votes are popping up in every election, not to mention you need an ID to do most things of a lesser nature in this country). You are politicizing this when there is no political slant involved. Stop fear mongering.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 20, 2012 at 01:57 PM in reply to Citizen
      McCarthyism was a joke and a completely failure. Most of the people who lost their jobs or were blacklisted because of McCarthyism were just hard working Americans.
  • by JJ on Mar 20, 2012 at 09:10 AM
    You can delete anything off of facebook. If they person is smart and deletes everything off before the interview then it looks like they dont do anything. I party and go out but you want find that on my facebook page.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 20, 2012 at 02:22 PM in reply to JJ
      Lol, you are joking, right? I'm sure you know that people can copy and paste whatever you put on Facebook.
  • by First Location: enc on Mar 20, 2012 at 08:45 AM
    Why are you surprised? First, the GOP wants you to pee in a cup, then they want you to have a separate "big brother" ID to vote, then they want to control your doctor's decisions, then they want the government to enforce their religious beliefs, then they want to invade your bedroom. Why is it so surprising that they want to read your mail? No "big government"? The only big government they are against is one that protects us from "big business". If they come for your neighbor-they will come for you! Joseph McCarthy was Catholic. He started out slow as well!
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      by to first on Mar 20, 2012 at 10:08 AM in reply to First
      Wow, you just described the dimocrt party. They are the ones wanting to control everything. You justwant to quote he pary line and sing the party song. Poor blind sleep, no, more like a lamb.
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Mar 20, 2012 at 01:58 PM in reply to to first
        Oh yeah, it's the democrats trying to tell gay couples that they can't marry, and trying to tell women what they can and cannot do. Please grow a brain and refrain for further embarassment.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 20, 2012 at 02:23 PM in reply to First
      First, you are starting out slow and ending out slow, lol.
  • by sue on Mar 20, 2012 at 08:36 AM
    I think it is great to check the person's facebook page. That way you really know what kind of person you are hiring. To see if they are trustworthy or a criminal. Racist or non racist. It can be used to really know who you are hiring. Great I agree it is great news for employers..
    • reply
      by No! on Mar 20, 2012 at 09:07 AM in reply to sue
      This is not a great way to know exactly who you are hiring. A lot of information that's posted on Facebook could be lies and this is no way to find out a person's true character!If you want to get to know someone better take the opportunity to sit down and talk to them. Employers should NEVER intervene in people's personal life! Business and pleasure are 2 totally different things and do not need to combined!!!!!!!
      • reply
        by sue on Mar 20, 2012 at 09:36 AM in reply to No!
        Well maybe they shouldn't be lying to everyone out there. What do you think??????????? When you are on facebook and don't think people really know you, you can act out but it comes back to bite you in the rear. Be yourself and don't pretend to be someone else.I still think it is GREAT. An employer should know what they are hiring so down the road it don't show up like a monster would.
        • reply
          by No! on Mar 20, 2012 at 11:52 AM in reply to sue
          Personally, I don't care what people lie or don't lie about that's their business and not mines! I wouldn't judge someone by the contents that he or she posts on Facebook! If an employer wants to know more about who he or she is hiring, then they need to continue to do criminal back ground checks. Let's get serious Facebook is not going to tell them who they are truly hiring!!! Point Blank! What do you think???????????
    • reply
      by Lynne on Mar 20, 2012 at 11:17 AM in reply to sue
      sue, would you be okay with your employer (or a prospective employer) demanding the keys to your house and car and any security codes so that they can send people you don't know into your home? Would you let them search through your closets and medicine cabinet? Would it be okay for them to decide not to hire you or to fire you because of what someone else left at your home? Would it be reasonable for them to decide you would not be a good employee because you left a soda can on your kitchen counter or had a letter from your boyfriend/husband talking about how great the other night was? With a password to Fb, the user can look at everything including your private messages. Does that really sound reasonable?
      • reply
        by Tina on Mar 21, 2012 at 06:30 AM in reply to Lynne
        I can't wait to hear Sue's answers to these questions.
    • reply
      by on Mar 20, 2012 at 12:33 PM in reply to sue
      1. To give out your username and password is a violation of Facebook's terms of service. You wouldn't give your password to your bank account or email. 2. There are privacy settings for Facebook for a reason. I don't have anything compromising on my Facebook but I do have pictures of my children that only my family can see. I don't want a potential employer who I don't know from the man in the moon having access to pictures of my children. Like I said, I have privacy settings so unwanted people can't see it. 3. If you really want to know who you are hiring, do a better job in the interview process. That is what references are for. This will set a dangerous precedence. Maybe I should ask to see your bank statements. You should also provide me with receipts every time you shop. I need to know what kind of items you buy so that I can decide what kind of person you are.
  • by Lynne Location: Ayden on Mar 20, 2012 at 07:23 AM
    Whether it is illegal or not, it is against Facebook's TOS. From Fb's TOS: "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." Also: "You will not solicit login information or access an account belonging to someone else." I would love to see companies asking for Fb login information (if they have a Fb account)reported for TOS violations. I find it amusing that companies want to hire people who break rules. It seems to me they should be unable to fire the individual for breaking their rules, if they broke at least one at the company's request to get hired. The company hired the person with full knowledge they would break a rule when it suited their needs.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 20, 2012 at 06:30 AM
    facebook is for fun, linkedin is for business/career. I wil NEVER hand over my password. I would never want to work for any person that felt they needed to intrude into my private life. I work for you, I do a good job, I handle my business and I don't disrupt anyone else on the job. I am respectful or you so be respectful of me. I still live and breathe other than 8-5 Monday-Friday and what I do away from work is none of your business.
    • reply
      by Christina on Mar 20, 2012 at 08:16 AM in reply to
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 20, 2012 at 12:57 PM in reply to
      Better change them hours to 6-10 Monday-Friday, if you want to stay competetive with China...
  • by Anonymous on Mar 20, 2012 at 06:24 AM
    I've heard this rumor several times but no one seems to be saying who is asking for them. It's also an incredibly stupid request to make. Facebook username and password? That's like them requesting your e-mail's password to make sure your e-mail doesn't contain anything suspicious. How ridiculous.
  • by blackandproud on Mar 20, 2012 at 06:16 AM
    How did this go from being about privacy, to being about Obama's supporters? Fyi... I do work!
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