If you're job hunting, career experts recommend staying active on social networks so hiring companies can find out more about you. But how much is too much?
Following a number of incidents of would-be employers demanding Facebook passwords during the job interview process, the social network on Friday blasted the practice as violating its terms of service.
Such practices "undermine the privacy expectations and the security of both the user and the user's friends," says Facebook in a message posted today. Such requests also could expose employers to legal liabilities, the company says.
The warning follows news stories, including this Associated Press report, about prospective employers who required that job seekers share their passwords to Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. In other situations, hiring managers have asked job applicants to connect with or "friend" them to look for inappropriate pictures, illegal behaviors or anything else that could damage the organization's reputation should the person be hired.
The practice is most prevalent in public agencies, including police departments and correctional facilities, according to an interview that the Marketplace radio show did with AP reporter Manuel Valdes.
Such practices are just another form of cyber bullying, insists Dan Finnigan, CEO at Jobvite, a company that makes software companies can use to share their job openings on social networks. The practices also allow companies to circumvent laws barring employers from directly asking job candidates about age, religion, marital status or citizenship. "Clearly, asking someone to access their private Facebook profile would provide answers to most if not all of these kinds of questions," Finnigan says.
Facebook users' reaction to the company's position was fast and overwhelmingly supportive. "Thanks for making this clear," one user writes in a comment on the Facebook statement. "If I am ever asked for login info by an employer, I will most certainly be letting them know about this!"
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