We all know that at some point, your employer is browsing your every move on Facebook or Twitter just in case you’re stepping out of line. So much of our lives are public on social media that many of us try to take steps to tone down what we post or what we share. However, an increasing number of reports in the past week suggest a few employers are going beyond stalking your Facebook profile and downright asking new hires to give up their passwords completely. Although the likelihood of your boss wanting your social media passwords is a lot lower than is reported, here are a few reasons why you should be worried about these incidents:
Inquiring Employers Want To Know
Employers’ appetites for wanting to know your every move and (with the rollout of Facebook timeline) your life history have not been satisfied enough. It has been increasingly clear lately that employers want to keep track of their hires by infiltrating their personal profiles. By making it a condition of employment for hires to give up their privacy in exchange for that job, they have set themselves into a danger zone that goes too far in getting to know them.
Employers Are Preying On The Recovery
With the economy slowly improving in the United States, people who have otherwise struggled to find work are seeing signs of hope. For employers that seem to extract a lot from their hires, they know that some will do anything to get that job and coercing them into giving their passwords is one way of exploiting the recovery. In a recent AP article, Justin Bassett, who turned down a job offer because he was asked by an employer to give up his social media passwords, said that others who are less fortunate to stand up for their beliefs are not lucky to walk away. He said, “If you need to put food on the table for your three kids, you can’t afford to stand up for your belief.”
It’s Downright Illegal
Giving up your social media passwords by coercion is an attack against privacy. The Justice Department stated in a recent AP article that it is a crime to go into someone’s account in violation of terms of service. In light of the news reports about employers coercing hires to give up their social media passwords, Facebook blasted them for such irrational practices. The company’s chief privacy officer Erin Egan said in a statement that “As a user, you shouldn’t be forced to share your private information and communications just to get a job. And as the friend of a user, you shouldn’t have to worry that your private information or communications will be revealed to someone you don’t know and didn’t intend to share with just because that user is looking for a job.” Even federal legislators have chimed in, calling for the Justice Department to investigate such “intrusion[s] into personal privacy.”