A lot of us get a bit twitchy when a third-party app wants to use our Facebook ID to login to some service or another. Most of the time it’s just so that an automated bot can access our information for targeted ad purposes which may actually result in something interesting or useful coming our way.
But then I read an article today that actually shocked me. The story goes that Justin Bassett, a New York City statistician, was in a face to face interview for a job and when after answering some general character questions, his interviewer turned to the computer to look for his Facebook page. Upon discovering that he had a private profile she then turned back and asked him to give her his login information.
You’ll be pleased to hear that he refused and withdrew his application.
The general practice of vetting applicants for jobs by snooping around their Facebook profile and other social media sites where information is freely available is almost a given these days. But asking a candidate to grant you access?
Orin Kerr, a George Washington University law professor and former federal prosecutor likens it to “requiring someone’s house keys”, and called the request “an egregious privacy violation.”
There have been questions raised over the legality of such practices, but in an increasingly competitive job market people are having a hard time saying no to things just on principle when the alternative is not being able to put food on the table.
Has this ever happened to you or someone you know? What was your/their reaction? We’d love to hear your stories. If any of you are employers we’d also be interested to hear what policies you adopt when it comes to screening candidates based on their social media activities.