Your Facebook password is none of your new boss’ business. That’s what the American Civil Liberties Union is saying after reports that employers are increasingly asking for access to job applicants’ social-media accounts.
“It’s an invasion of privacy for private employers to insist on looking at people’s private Facebook pages as a condition of employment or consideration in an application process,” attorney Catherine Crump said in a statement from the ACLU. “People are entitled to their private lives.”
Recently, multiple cases have come to light in which companies have either asked for passwords to Facebook or required that applicants “friend” people at those companies. An Associated Press report this week highlighted Justin Bassett, a New York statistician who said that, during a job interview, the interviewer pulled up his Facebook page and asked for his password. He said he refused.
The ACLU said it’s found an increasing number of companies with such policies on Facebook. They say it’s more common with public agencies, such as law enforcement. On an ACLU Facebook page Thursday, followers were, not surprisingly, overwhelmingly against the concept: “I consider it a violation of personal privacy,” one user wrote. “Will the next step be to request a key to my house?”
It is technically against Facebook’s Terms of Service to share a password: “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,” the agreement reads. In addition to Maryland, lawmakers in Illinois are considering legislation that would ban the practice.
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