Photo by John Moore/Getty Images.
Facebook on Friday weighed in on the recent trend whereby a would-be employer asks job applicants for their social networking passwords so they can take a look around. Unsurprisingly, Facebook isn't a fan of the screening process.
In a post on the site, Facebook's chief privacy officer, Erin Egan, urged users to keep their passwords to themselves for the sake of their own accounts, as well as their entire network. But Egan also went a step further by warning HR departments that asking for the passwords could open themselves up to unanticipated legal liability.
Here's a snippet from Egan's post:
"We don’t think employers should be asking prospective employees to provide their passwords because we don’t think it’s the right thing to do. But it also may cause problems for the employers that they are not anticipating. For example, if an employer sees on Facebook that someone is a member of a protected group (e.g. over a certain age, etc.) that employer may open themselves up to claims of discrimination if they don’t hire that person.
"Employers also may not have the proper policies and training for reviewers to handle private information. If they don’t—and actually, even if they do--the employer may assume liability for the protection of the information they have seen or for knowing what responsibilities may arise based on different types of information (e.g. if the information suggests the commission of a crime).
"Facebook takes your privacy seriously. 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."
Read the full thing here.