Job Candidates and Facebook Privacy
Two weeks ago, I came across a story about a middle school student who was forced to give her Facebook log-in information to school officials. All of this without her parents being notified or present. I shook my head at the audacity of these officials to clearly overstep their boundaries, take advantage of the student’s naivety and violate her privacy.
Last week the hot topic was how some employers are requesting candidate’s Facebook log-in information or asking the candidate to open up their Facebook account during the interview. Both Facebook and the ACLU are taking a stand against such practices as it is an invasion of privacy, unethical, and potentially illegal because age and gender are often part of a person’s profile. Not to mention most likely a violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution.
Facebook’s Terms of Service, under Section 4 - Registration and Security, clearly states: “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.” Just for your benefit, you might want to check out the full Facebook Terms of Service for they are rather enlightening.
When news first broke about employers making these requests and candidates actually obliging, I literally felt sick to my stomach. Has it really come to this? Social networks are just that, “social”. LinkedIn was built along the same model as the social platforms, but designated as a “professional” networking site. What happened to good old fashioned background checks or a quick internet search (which is still a questionable practice)?
The whole idea is unsettling because if this becomes a standard, what’s next? Will we become a paranoid populace so concerned about who is watching that self-censorship paralyzes free thought?
In healthcare, where protection of a patient’s privacy is mandatory and highly regarded, I find it hard to believe that these practices have infiltrated the human resources screening process, but I could be wrong. Have any of you experienced this during an interview? Employers, what are your thoughts?
E.J. Fechenda is the Audience Data Manager for MedTech Media. Since 2008 she has helped manage Healthcare Finance JobSpot and Healthcare IT JobSpot - now merged with HIMSS JobMine. She is not a Human Resources professional, nor a healthcare expert, but over the years she's accumulated a lot of feedback and insight from both job seekers and employers alike. Each week E.J. will deliver a blog based on this information. One week will be employer focused and the next week, job seeker focused.