Facebook Tells Job Seekers: Don’t Share Password With Employers

Facebook for iPad failed to login.Employers’ demands for access to a candidate’s Facebook account is spurring a backlash — from Facebook.

Has an employer ever asked for your Facebook password? Let us know by posting a comment.

This morning, Facebook advised users to decline such requests, which violates its own guidelines and, the company points out, undermines the security and privacy of users and their friends.

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.

Some employers aren’t likely to care about violating Facebook’s guidelines, which don’t have any legal standing. The company has promised to work with lawmakers, and even take legal action, to protect the accounts and privacy of its users.

Some lawmakers have already gotten in on the action. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from Connecticut, is working on a bill that would prevent employers from asking for an applicant’s password on Facebook or other social networks. The senator told the AP that this practice is an “unreasonable invasion of privacy for people seeking work.”

Facebook contends the practice isn’t particularly good for employers, either.

We don’t think employers should be asking prospective employees to provide their passwords because we don’t think it’s right the thing to do.  But it also may cause problems for the employers that they are not anticipating.  For example, if an employer sees on Facebook that someone is a member of a protected group (e.g. over a certain age, etc.) that employer may open themselves up to claims of discrimination if they don’t hire that person.

23 Responses to “Facebook Tells Job Seekers: Don’t Share Password With Employers”

  1. Michael Andrews

    No chance I would give my pw to an employer. If they asked me for it I would politely tell them that I’m not going to give it to them and that I no longer need to interview with them because I wouldn’t take a job there even if they offered me one. Something like that speaks volumes about the culture of a company.

    • Proud Paulbot

      That’s what I’ve said from the beginning: if the company is this intrusive during the application process, imagine what it will be like if you’re unfortunate enough to be hired by them.

  2. Proud Paulbot

    I agree that this is a horrendous practice, but the calls for the government to “do something” are, to me, just as horrendous. Government never makes things better; getting the government involved will only worsen the situation.

    This issue is best handled by the free market; in other words, employees refusing to work for companies that engage in this practice, and consumers launching peaceful boycotts against said companies.

    • Daleinaz

      Amen! We are responsible for our lives, Uncle Sam is not responsible for “protecting” us from everything. I had to consent to a criminal records check (which the company paid for and provided me a copy of) for my last job, which I have no problem with. That does not reveal my age or religion or other information that an employer is legally not allowed to ask for.
      An employer is welcome to look at the publicly available profile data on FB (I would not make it public if I didn’t want anyone to be able to see it). But they are not getting my “house keys” so to speak. If they ask, I’m not working there.

      • A criminal background check is reasonable, and that is one thing. However, employers are also running a credit check on you (and EVERY credit check lowers your credit score) and won’t hire people with low credit. So if your credit was borderline, doing a lot of job hunting can drop it into bad territory. And NOBODY, business or otherwise has any business knowing my personal life.

    • Free Market is anything BUT. You want protection of your Facebook information? You’ll have to pay extra for that (this is the heart of “free market, the system of greed known as “capitalism”) Government has been protecting us from business excesses since before 1900. That is what got us 8 hour work days, weekends, 40 hour weeks, minimum wage. All things business are trying now to abolish. Government intervention in business for the sake of workers is NOT the evil that Fox News is trying to convince you it is.

  3. Good Luck with that. If you apply for a Law Enforcement job or anything with a security clearance they want to know everything about you and if you refuse not only will you not get the job, you will have a black spot on your record for refusing. Let’s face it your Facebook account is public record and if you post to forums using a facebook login or put controversial topics on your wall/photos, your employer is going to find out about it.
    When people realize how dangerous Facebook is, they are going to start dropping their account. This is not a big deal for people over 35, but people who start Facebook when they are 12 are going to realize they better delete their account when they are 23.

    • Proud Paulbot

      ——If you apply for a Law Enforcement job or anything with a security clearance they want to know everything about you—–

      …which is completely understandable under those select circumstances. If I apply to the CIA, I would expect them to crawl so far up my butt they can see out my mouth.

      But not if I’m applying for secretarial work, a job as a web designer, or a retail gig, or any job outside of law enforcement.

  4. Joel Malard

    That question isn’t a good idea anyways, but I were to ask it in an interview it would be to weed out candidates that are willing to reveal private information for a price. Did anyone who answered such a question actually got hired?

  5. scoobydo

    Can someone tell me what is going to stop Facebook from turning around and selling this as a service to prospective employers? They already sell your facebook demographic information for ad targeting – I think they are more angry about this because if people give their facebook and other social network passwords voluntarily to their employers and prospective employers, then that revenue stream for facebook and others like it is gone !!!

    Think about it…

  6. Foxlover

    So what is next? Potential employers requiring your personal email password, so they can see who you correspond with? The password to your online cell phone provider account, so they can see who you call and who calls you? Well, heck, might as well be forced to provide your cable TV or satellite account/netflix account password so they can make sure the movies you watch are Ok.

    Doesn’t anybody see where this can go?? And VERY easily, I might add.

  7. Geoffrey

    I don’t have a Facebook account. Honestly. I think FB is perhaps the singularly most immature site on the Web. Just my opinion.

    What happens to folks like me? Do we not get hired simply because FB is a waste of time?

  8. Employers don’t need your password – all your browsing, posting, emailing goes through the company proxy and most companies record all communication.

    Companies own the equipment being used – of course they know what their equipment is used for and will have a say in what their equipment is used for.

    • Daleinaz

      That’s why I don’t do personal email and posting on company computers. I browse a bit on lunch hour, but only on innocuous sites like bbc.com. But this question is said to have come from *prospective* employers, i.e. one who has not yet hired you.

  9. Phennjimi

    Two comments:

    One: tell the employer that you will trade Facebook login information. I’ll hand you my e-mail address and password and the exact same time that you hand me yours. If you want to know about a prospective employee, then I want to know about you, my interviewer – to make sure that you don’t belong to any hate groups that might have a bias towards me.

    Two: maintain two separate Facebook accounts [all you need are two different e-mail addresses]. The one using your real name will be squeaky-clean, and safe to give to prospective employers. Choose your Friends carefully, choose your Likes carefully [being sure to Like the company to which you are applying – and then un-Like it if you don’t get the job], and choose your pictures carefully. Make sure the security is tight [“Friends only”]. Be sure to change the password the next day. Your other Facebook account is for your free-wheeling lifestyle. Make sure you don’t have anyone who is a Friend on both accounts.

  10. In my work search, I have had disclosures by HR online application systems that they will search on social networks to gain information and that you must agree to this within their HR application system. You had to tick a box and if you did not, you did not get to apply for the job.

    I chose not to apply to that company. I dont have Facebook nor Twitter account, but it is completely unreasonable to ask employees this type of information and it said to me as a highly valuable employee what they were like as a company to demand this of their employees. Its your personal life and friends, not their information collection ground

  11. Rafik Kocharians

    Its totally irrelevant to work. Its like the employer asking to come to your next BBQ gathering at your house to see who your friends are, and to see if you like your steak well done. So whats that got to do with your ability to do the job ? Say I have a 7 foot friend and a 5 foot tall friend. Will they not hire me because I have tall friends ? or short friends ? Isn’t that discrimination and bullying ? Come on, can we have some common sense on this matter ? hmmmm.

  12. Nikhlesh Patel

    I need under OATH of perjury from all Management if they have a P411 account or not. I will reveal my password if half of them don’t. Actually having few is enough to not get any federal contract.

  13. I don’t have an issue with this. If you have something to hide, then don’t put it on a computer or the internet.

    People do not seem to understand that information placed onto Facebook, twitter, linkedin, etc, ARE NOT PRIVATE!

  14. Not only do I not give potential employers any of my personal passwords, when they ask, I walk out of the interview. I will NOT work for an employer so ethically challenged that they would want to invade information about what I do outside the office. Once I walk out at the end of the day, what I do is MY business, not theirs, no matter what it is I am doing, or who the employer is.