There have been quite a few stories in the media recently about organisations (mostly in the US at the moment) demanding the Facebook username and password for employees/potential employees. It goes under various guises – due diligence, background checks etc. It has reached such a level that Facebook (not always the most obvious candidate for protection of privacy) has restated that soliciting login details is against their Terms of Service.
It’s pretty well known that employers these days will check to see what’s in the public domain about a potential employee which is a good enough reason to be careful what you post and ensure that your privacy settings are set appropriately. But pushing further and wanting to either login to your account, shoulder surf whilst you are logged in or alternatively asking you to ‘friend’ HR is wrong whichever way you look at it. They might as well invite you into their house to have a look around their cupboards and drawers.
But have you considered that it might even cause a problem for the business? There is a resignation letter doing the rounds online which points out that knowing too much can put the organisation in a very difficult position. Once you’ve found out something about someone you can’t un-know it and, as the examples in the letter illustrate, you could now be faced with some awkward choices.
And suppose, for a minute, that you persuade your employee to ‘friend’ HR. Your organisation now has access to their friends personal details. People who probably don’t know you, who don’t work for you and have absolutely no desire for you to go nosing into their personal life. You might also want to consider what you’re going to do if you find out something that you don’t like (assuming at this point you don’t work for the law enforcement services and even if you do, you’ve probably gained access to information in a way that may not be admissible in court).
Maybe now is a good time to review your HR policy as regards background checks and make sure that whilst being diligent you are also staying on the right side of respecting people’s privacy.
And if someone insists that you let them have access suggest they reciprocate by handing over the keys to their online banking – after all, you’ll want to be sure that you’re working for a company that can afford to pay you at the end of the month…!
- Should the King Have your Social Media Passwords? (dontbitetheapple.net)
- Employers Ask to Poke Through Facebook Profiles (thoughtsofmytwenties.com)
- Recruitment trend we hate: Asking for Facebook passwords during the interview (venturebeat.com)