Saturday, 24 March 2012 10:20

Give Up Your Facebook; or You Won't Get Hired...

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Facebook_logoFacebook has not always been on the side of user privacy. In fact they have gotten into hot water about many of the features that they want to, and indeed have implemented. These are features like auto-tagging and facial recognition, the use of user pictures for their targeted ads. Storing user information after the user deletes it and even keeping deleted profiles after the user leaves Facebook. Now in what could be a PR move (and probably is) or could really be their concern over a new issue Facebook is telling users not to disclose their Facebook account passwords to employers, potential employers or during interviews.

The move comes after a news story brought to light a new trend that claimed employers are asking employees for their Facebook usernames and passwords. There has already been a stink over some employers reading their employees Facebook pages and then using that against them (in a few cases resulting in termination). Although I can partially see the reasoning behind this as before Facebook people have been let got for public intoxication, and other ridiculous incidents in their personal lives  because this type of conduct does not match up to the professional image that a company might want to keep. This is usually when the conduct is extreme and results in arrest or something else that makes is publicly embarrassing to a company. However, to actively read through someone’s Facebook looking for this is a bit much; asking for their passwords is unacceptable.

What is next? Asking for their e-mail passwords, messenger logins, or a key to their house? What someone does in their personal time is not the business of their employer. If they think they are hurting the company, there are legal means to find out and then action they can take. The situation is bad enough that Facebook as a company has chimed in condemning this kind of behavior. Now, Senator Richard Blumenthal is putting together a bill that would prohibit employers from asking for this type of information.  Blumenthal called it an “unreasonable invasion of privacy”. The tactic is very concerning in the current economy as companies can coerce potential employees into giving them the information in order to get hired. Many who have been out of work for an extended period of time might do this just to get back to work. It is an intimidation tactic and not what you would consider a fair employment practice.

Now, with all of the snooping, spying and general keeping tabs on employees going on these days it is no wonder there is very little loyalty to the companies people work for. It should also be no surprise that this has led to a new sector in the technology market. Once upon a time people would just browse the internet during work when they were bored or even just to avoid work (not that I condone that but it did and does happen). This type of behavior led to viruses, malware and even security breaches in corporate systems. Along came the web filtering hardware and the unified threat management gateway. Companies could not block malware, viruses, content and even sites with a few simple clicks. This locked down what employees (or students) could do with company resources. As with any security technology there is someone there to find a way around it. There is a new line up of devices to get around firewalls, filters and other blocks on websites.

This is what will happen now; people will begin to find ways around this (unless a law preventing it is passed). You will see fake Facebook profiles people locking down their Facebook pages to just friends and family (which they should do anyway) and many other methods of avoiding being spied on by their employer. This will also have other repercussions as it will help enforce the “us and them” feeling that is growing with many companies. Of course, the funniest part of all of this is that Facebook is standing up for people’s privacy while at the same time they are working hard to allow themselves even greater access to your personal information that is stores on Facebook servers…

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Read 4697 times Last modified on Saturday, 24 March 2012 10:29

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