Would You Reveal Your Facebook Password to get a Job?

When Justin Bassett interviewed for a job, there was one question that caught him by surprise: the interviewer asked for his Facebook password!

Bassett, a New York City statistician, had just finished answering a few character questions when the interviewer turned to her computer to search for his Facebook page. But she couldn't see his private profile. She turned back and asked him to hand over his login information.

Bassett refused and withdrew his application, saying he didn't want to work for a company that would seek such personal information. But as the job market steadily improves, other job candidates are confronting the same question from prospective employers, and some of them cannot afford to say no.

In their efforts to vet applicants, some companies and government agencies are going beyond merely glancing at a person's social networking profiles and instead asking to log in as the user to have a look around.

"It's akin to requiring someone's house keys," said Orin Kerr, a George Washington University law professor and former federal prosecutor who calls it "an egregious privacy violation."

Would you share your Facebook password to get a job? Link

I can't imagine why anyone would give over their password unless they were REALLY desperate for a job. A company that would require that sort of thing is probably a fairly dodgy sort of place to start with, or so low tech that they believe the FB scaremongers. Either way, you're not going to attract top grade staff.
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This is why I don't have a Facebook account! The sheer silliness of this whole fracas makes me want to facepalm straight through my own head.

I would LOVE to go for a job where they demanded my password and I could be like, "Oh, Facebook? No, no, I don't even HAVE an account. Ahahaha." The blank looks I get from my friends are more than enough to make me happy about my decision to do without it. :)
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Most companies, because of the legality and questionable ethics behind demanding UN & PW are now demanding that applicants log on to any and all accounts in front of the interviewer during the interview and navigate through their accounts then and there.
That way, the candidate gets to have real time embarrassment as well as gets to see the interviewers reactions to their personal information IN PERSON! YAY
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As a lawyer for thirty years and the hiring director for the largest consulting enginerering firm in the country for the past 13 years, I say don't. Just say no, look elsewhere for a job. If this is what they do when they are trying to recruit you, what do you think they will do once they own you?
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Alan: the difference is this. If you have a private FB profile and you grant someone access to it, they now can access the private profiles of your friends as well. So it isn't merely your privacy at risk, it's theirs too.
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I'm a network security professional. The first thing we tell people is to NEVER SHARE YOUR PASSWORDS.

If an employer ever asked me for my Facebook password, I would think I would fail the interview if I gave it up. I might consider adding them as a friend so they could see my Facebook stuff, since I don't have anything exciting on there, but they would have to pry my password from my cold, lifeless fingers...
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My response would be "If I gave you my account name and password, that act would be grounds for you not to hire me. If I would violate the terms of service for Facebook so readily, what reason would you have to believe that I would abide by the terms of an employment contract?"
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If I applied for a job and they asked for my password for my Facebook account, they wouldn't get it. My reply to them would be that if I give them my Facebook password it would be showing them that I can't be trusted as I may give away company secrets if asked, so I politely refuse to give up that information.
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@ Fae: You have friends?? Amazing !!

For everyone: it wouldn't matter if someone never used the internet. Unfortunately, they still will have a presence. I have one very good friend who shows up in searches because of participation in mundane, legal things like amateur sports. There are also the photos on the employer's Facebook page (the page is used to generate business and list promotions). Anonymity/ privacy is virtually impossible. All any of us can do is be prudent in what is displayed. It is reasonable for an employer to cast a disapproving view on posted pics of an inebriated weekend party (why advertise that you went swimming in the fountain wearing a penguin suit?). But if you sent a pic of your cousin in this scenario to your brother via the private message function, why is it the employer's business?

Back in the early '80s, I walked away from a job with the local police department because of the requisite 250 question polygraph. I told the interviewer that it was too invasive for a job that paid just above minimum wage. She said she understood and that the only people who ever accepted the position were ones wanting a career in the department and willing to do anything to get a foot in the door. Filling the position took them a long time.
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The comments have been as interesting as the post. And my response is no different than other people's.
Equally interesting is the bit about the company that disqualifies anyone from employment for having a f/b acct. That's making a very erroneous assumption about the 'kinds' of people who use it (You don't know me, do you Fae?) and what they're using it for.
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Not just no, but fuck no.

What a lot of people (and employers) don't realize is that a job interview goes both ways. Not only is the employer interviewing you, but you are interviewing the employer.

If an employer were to ask (let alone demand) something like this, it would be an immediate deal breaker.

I would let them no that, and then walk out right then and there.
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@Fae disqualifying somebody simply because they had an account on a social networking site makes you a hundred times worse an employer than the employee. I'd like to find out the company so we can launch an online campaign to warn everyone not to apply for a job there.

These are PEOPLE not facebook accounts. If you cant live with The Way Things Are then you shouldnt even be trading. This is the 21st century, get with the program or die like the dinosaurs these companies obviously are.
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So much personal data has been compromised by the likes of Facebook, Google, and YouTube that I'm surprised that any thinking person would deal with them. I do my correspondence via email and email only. Zuckerboig and the clowns at Google are in serious need of government regulation and the sale of private data needs to be reviewed. I took a smart pill long ago and got rid of junk like MySpace, Facebook, and Google. My search engine of choice is Bing, at least for the time being. Even Twitter is considering the sale of "used tweets" to commercial enterprises. Marketer piggies run the show in America and we need to put a stop to some of their foolishness. How about if we make it a crime for any company to place scripts, cookies, or messages on our computers without permission. Fat chance!
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Fae, glad to know there are people out there who are so much better than the rest of us.

I started using Facebook to keep in touch with people I knew from another site, send pictures, etc...

Today I use it mostly to keep in touch with people I used to work with at an old job. Also, I keep updated on some archaeological groups. It's how I found out about a building that fell down in Pompeii last year.

Facebook is way overused in some workplaces - I know, I had to constantly tell quite a few people to get off it and back to work in my last job.

For an employer to ask you for a password to anything is a violation of privacy. Many people list their gender, birthdates, marital status, sexual orientation, personal interests, and other private data that employers are forbidden to ask about in an interview.

If someone is that free with their Facebook password, I doubt as an employer that I would be comfortable in their protection of company information.

Besides, you can overuse any web site when you're at work. Why not ask for their eBay account? Or their WordPress login, so they can post comments under your name at Neatorama?
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Using Facebook simply shows a general level of bad judgement. This is especially true after their continuing issues with personal privacy. That government agencies allow this doesn't impress me. I'd expect nothing less from the government.

Here's an interesting (to me) story: About a year ago I went searching for as many old friends and coworkers as I could on Facebook as an experiment. Before I started, I made a list of who I thought would have a Facebook account and who wouldn't. And I was dead on correct.

Hint: If you can't figure out what's being bought and sold, it's you.
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Why isn't Facebook weighing in on this debate. They must realize people will close their accounts over this and that the companies asking these questions are indirectly competing with Facebook user base. Oh, Yeah, Zuckerberg is a spineless douche-bag.
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I have mine page locked down so tight that most everything is only visible to me. But it still allows me to contact and be contacted by those on my friends list. That is sufficient.

@ Fae: Please tell us where you where it would be an immediate disqualification, so we don't even think about applying there. Even friends and family of mine who possess government clearance at the top levels still have lives! I am a retiree from a telecommunications behemoth that lived with the day to day necessity of proprietary information that affected public safety and security. While internet usage on the job was verboten, one's personal time off premise was quite another. Your reply is beyond ridiculous! It might be quite frank, but it seemed to imply a certain pleasure in your screening process. It is rather appalling.
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@Miss Cellania - it would be like them finding the diary in the mattress and reading it. And then reading everyone else's diary connected to your diary.

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Thanks, y'all! So in essence, the employer is wanting to do something like read your email! That's totally over the line.

I don't post anything on the internet that isn't for the public. But my email is different -and personal messages on Facebook that are password-protected are just as private.
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Yup. That would be a deal-killer for me, even if I needed the job. They'd have to pay me an insanely high salary to put up with working for Big Brother. Aside from the fact that I don't & won't ever have a Facebook account.
I wonder what company this is? It seems like such a request would or should be illegal, particularly if it's a serious requirement for hiring.
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This also opens up the possibility of being rejected for employment based on the hiring person's personal opinions. Example: what if the HR person doesn't like your favorite sports team, choice of music, or whatever else? What if you are involved with a cause of some kind that the HR person opposes? None of that has anything to do with a person's qualifications for a job.
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Miss Cellania: some FB users such as myself keep their profile page completely private and only allow approved friends to access it. Someone could see that I have a FB page, but all they'd see is my name and possibly a profile pic. Speaking for myself, I'm not hiding or embarrassed by anything, I choose to only allow real people who I know in my real life to view it. I don't post anything there that I wouldn't want these people to see. However, when it comes to allowing some unknown HR person to snoop around on my profile for the purpose of "vetting" me, uh, no way. They will have to "vet" me the old-fashioned way: by meeting with me, speaking to me and deciding via their assessment skills whether I am a fit for the job they are offering, not by making snap judgments about me via something that has nothing to do with my professional life at all.
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Just to add: if you give your password to someone, they are also allowed to look at personal message between you and other Facebook users, which are never displayed publicly - you can ONLY see them with a password. Not only would that be a violation of your privacy, it would be a violation of all the other friends with whom you've corresponded.

For this reason alone, you should NEVER be expected to give up your password.
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Miss Cellania, you presumably have your permissions set so that anyone can take a look at your entire profile, pictures, etc. That's fine if that's what you want, and the interviewer probably wouldn't need your password to look at anything else. However, my FB account is set to what amounts to 'maximum lockdown' - anyone who isn't a FB 'friend' can only see my name and a photo. Nothing else. I just don't want strangers knowing my business, because it's MY personal business.

Asking for a FB password is completely wrong. First, as someone points out, it's against Facebook's own terms of service - you are simply not allowed to give your password to anyone else.

But even if you were allowed, it should not be a requirement to get a job. What anyone does in their personal life, which they choose to share with their FB friends, is THEIR business. Even if you have some stuff you wouldn't want an employer to see - well, that's exactly why you shouldn't have to show them your FB account! It's your personal, private diary, journal, call it what you will. FB is there so you can share the information you choose to share with the people you want to see it.

The 'safe' response (trying not to lose the chance of a job) is to say it's not allowed by Facebook. The better response is, of course, 'stick your job where the sun doesn't shine'!

Other ideas: if I am willing to trust you with MY password, will you trust me with the password to the company's financial systems? Or: if I was willing to hand over my password so easily, how could you ever trust me with confidential information about the company?

If they instead force you to 'friend' them so they can look at your profile, it's still not really okay, but if you really have to do it, make it clear that you will only give them access for a set number of days, after which they will be defriended again.

You could always say 'sorry I don't have a Facebook account' but if they've already found it you're out of luck.

This whole thing really is abuse of privacy and it should be stamped out.
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@Miss Cellania, many Facebook users make use of content-limiting privacy lists. Unless you're white-listed for some peoples' specific posts/photos, you will not be able to view them. The employers are requesting the passwords to go in and look at the 'real' content of the Facebook that might otherwise be hidden to the general public.
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@ Miss Cellania - I think they want the password so that they can see everything. A lot of people block content from certain parties. What they can see publicly might be different to what they can see with your password.

Somebody asked me the other day if we should be checking facebook pages of applicants that apply to work in my workplace. I can't see any benefit. I don't want a team of people just like me or like everybody else here. I want a group of people with different outlooks, views and experiences bringing their own perspectives and learning to my team, not clones or people with perfect pasts....(or sneaky enough to create one that they think I want to see).
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That's insane.

The company he was interviewing for is clearly disreputable. I work for a web dev compnay, and know many people who work in IT and specifically in web-oriented jobs, and no employer has ever, ever, ever asked for passwords to their personal pages.

I don't care how plum the job market gets for employers, if they're asking for access to your personal information before they've even decided to hire you, there's something super fishy going on there.
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After reading about this yesterday I made an examination of my facebook postings in my timeline over the entire 4 years I've been using it. I found absolutely nothing I would be embarassed about, and yet I would still refuse unless the job required a security clearance. Companies that want to vet prospective employees need to find a way to do so that doesn't invade privacy. The current job market may favor the employer over the prospective employee in terms of bargaining positions, but the terms of any job should include a right to personal privacy. I won't give that up.
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Responding to that request would also be in violation Facebook's terms of service, 4.8: "You will not share your password, (or in the case of developers, your secret key), let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account."
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Apparently I don't understand Facebook, or I don't use it the way other people do. What would an employer learn about you with your password that they wouldn't learn just looking at your Facebook profile? As I understand it, the only thing they need a password for is to change or delete your page. You know, like if someone wanted the password to my blog.

So when I first encountered this controversy, I figured maybe employers didn't understand how Facebook worked, but maybe its me. Do they really demand control over your site, or do they just want to monitor what you post? If that's it, sure, look at my site, but someone should explain that you don't need a password fr that, just an account and maybe a friend link.

If an employer demanded control over a site I owned, that would be fighting time. But if I were desperate for a job, I might delete the site.
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No. When I accept a job it's about agreeing to perform specific duties at a specific time for a specific amount of compensation. That is all. My private life, my interests and my friendships have nothing whatsoever to do with my employer or their business. My life is not going to center entirely around my employer's corporate philosophy. Employers have no business noodling around in people's personal lives, only in their professional lives when they're on the company clock.
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