Companies now asking job applicants for Facebook account password access

24 March 2012

Bitterwallet - Facebook logo Here’s an ingenious, if slightly disgusting, use of social media – companies in America who are looking to hire staff are reportedly demanding that job applicants hand over their Facebook passwords so that their lives can be rigorously examined. Classy stuff.

It’s not unheard of for companies to take a look at the social media presence of potential employees – if they’ve made their accounts public, then it’s all fair game. But demanding that protected accounts are accessed so that companies can nose around in people’s private affairs is beyond the pale.

“Facebook takes your privacy seriously,” Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan has said this week. “We’ll take action to protect the privacy and security of our users, whether by engaging policymakers or, where appropriate, by initiating legal action, including by shutting down applications that abuse their privileges.” It feels weird to be siding with Facebook on a matter of privacy but there you go.

The creepy, greedy social media giant added: “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. That’s why we’ve made it a violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities to share or solicit a Facebook password.” GO FACEBOOK!

So far, all reports of the diabolical password-requesting practice have been in the US of America, but if companies think they can get away with it, it’s surely only a matter of time before it happens in the UK. Who knew the 21st century was going to be as shitty as THIS?


TOPICS:   Social Media   Privacy   Technology


  • Stringer B.
    And if a company is found to be violating that Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, Facebook will do what about it? Exactly.
  • Tim
    Fairly sure if it happened in the UK it would be in breach of dozens of UK and EU laws. Human Rights for starters. Pretty sure they can't even technically require you to have ethnicity and age on your CV. Though I'm sure plenty bin those CVs, but if they were found to be doing so they can be done for it I think. Hunting out background information based on public information is up to them though and down to what you make public. The private stuff is private. If they want it they can shove their job and be reported for requesting it in my opinion. Daft really given most employers really don't care about your private life.
  • Facebook
    In no particular order: Suspend or delete any company accounts for breach of our TOS. Support test cases where unsuccessful a candidates for an interview have been asked for passwords where their account may contain information that is illegal to use for interview purposes (age will do). Use massive publicity to point out companies using this practice to a few million targeted users. Sue any company that uses a password gained in this way to access our information for loss of earnings due to reduction in Facebook use (and therfore advertising revenue) and data theft. We can also pass on information to federal agencies such as the FBI for that company to be charged with federal offenses related to hacking into our systems. Please remember that WE own the accounts - not the user.
  • Stringer B.
    I stand corrected. Thank you Facebook for reminding us of your excellent reputation in protecting people's privacy.
  • Capability B.
    Why would they want your password when all they are interested in doing is looking at your profile? Giving them your password would mean they could actually access your profile and change it. What are they going to do - change your Farmville settings?
  • haggis
    With a password they can see the stuff you haven't made public.
  • Tom
    Why would you put stuff on facebook you did not want make public, I would not add all urls of all my fox bumming websites just in case I removed my bookmarks. Unless you mean shared with friends? Then they would just force you to add them, no breach in tncs.
  • Richard
    Surely if a company is asking you to do this and you have an objection to it, as I know I would, then just tell them to fuck off and find a company that gives you a little more respect!
  • Alexis
    "Why would you put stuff on facebook you did not want make public, I would not add all urls of all my fox bumming websites just in case I removed my bookmarks." Unless you're a loner, I bet they'll be a few pics of you looking like a tit on a night out. In some parts of America they simply won't give you a job if they find a photo of you downing shots on your FB page. Ironically if you spend nights in cleaning your mother's skeleton, you've probably got more chance of a job in somewhere like Salt Lake City.
  • Capability B.
    If they ask you for your password, all you have to do is ask what relevance your facebook account has to the job that they are interviewing you for. Or say, "I'll show you mine if you'll show me yours" and waggle your eyebrows. Or have two accounts, one with pictures of you getting your baps out and snorting coke and another one of you teaching at Sunday School and picking up litter in the street.
  • Shooter M.
    @ Tim: Can you expand on the dozens of EU and UK laws you are fairly sure would be breached?
  • Facebook
    @shooter The access to our accounts without our authorization would likely be in breach of UK Computer misuse act 1990. Please remember that just because you know the password to a Facebook account you are not automatically authrised to use that account. A user has no right to grant access, only we do.
  • Glen Q.
    Gigidy Gigidy Gigidy allll right!
  • Shooter M.
    @ Facebook: That's very much dependent upon the interpretation of "entitled to controlled access", notwithstanding what you think your T&Cs might say. I am, however, much in your debt for the reply
  • Blokeski
    How about saying to prospective employers "I don't have a FB account". If you do have one, change the profile picture to something else, make the entire thing private, and if they say "Well who is this?" say "Not me". To be honest though, they have a cheek doing this. Your private life is called "private" for a reason.
  • stupid
    I will gladly give my employer my Facebook details, I have nothing to hide. of course this means I can also share any work related info with whoever I like including competitors.
  • Dick
    I think it is a good test. Will you hand over a password to someone for personal gain? If yes, you don't get the job.
  • Mr C.
    Surely this is what LinkedIn was created for...
  • Mike H.
    I need your credit card numbers, pin numbers and all your passwords so I can see whazt you have spent. CRETINS!
  • Marc Z.
    As what "Facebook" said, I, I mean We own the accounts, not the user (I also type as fast as I speak - as portrayed in "The Social Network" movie - I apparently speak super fast. Anyways, I'm off to find a matching pair of socks to go with my sandels. Good morro'
  • Facebook
    @shooter As the accounts are ours and a user has no rights to grant access then we as reliably informed by learned gentlemen that anybody accessing the account (including companies given the account password by a user) without establishing our prior consent or obtaining a valid warrant would be in breech of the said act. We look forward to demonstrating this in court (and, more importantly, in the full light of publicity) if necessary. We will protect our data with vigor. To do anything less may affect our users willingness to provide us with future data and the corresponding revenue.
  • Boris
    RBS 287635674 sort code: 21-34-09 Online password: thtchrhuGs69 Pin: 1979 I am all for transparent government.
  • Shooter M.
    @Facebook: This learned gentleman forsees the likelihood of a prosecution for such a breech (sic) as remote. Good luck to you nonetheless.

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