It's long been known that what you write on Facebook or other social media sites can come back to haunt you. Young job applicants, in particular, have been warned from sharing accounts of college parties gone wild and other details that may be off-putting to a potential employer. Now comes word that employers, primarily in government it appears, have asked applicants for their Facebook passwords to see if there are any skeletons in their closets.
Upon hearing of the practice, Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut told Politico that he was working on legislation that would bar a practice that he sees as an "unreasonable invasion" into the private lives of prospective employees.
Sen. Blumenthal disputed the notion that workers hand over such information voluntarily.
"The coercive element of the request," he told Politico, "really makes it less than voluntary."
Facebook responded last week that asking an employee for a personal password to its site was a violation of its privacy. At first, the social media site indicated that such a practice would be grounds for a company to have its page removed from the site, although it did later appear to dial-back from that position a bit.
A report by the Los Angeles Times said that although the Justice Department views the violation of Facebook's terms of service as a criminal act under federal law, it was not looking to get into prosecuting every violation.
Should employers have the right to require that prospective employees hand over access to their social media accounts?