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Facebook Privacy Social Networks Your Rights Online

Why Making Facebook Private Won't Protect You 550

itwbennett writes "Facebook's privacy settings, such as they are, don't hold up in the face of prospective employers who demand to see applicants' profiles. In an MSNBC report, Bob Sullivan found that 'in Maryland, job seekers applying to the state's Department of Corrections have been asked during interviews to log into their accounts and let an interviewer watch while the potential employee clicks through wall posts, friends, photos and anything else that might be found behind the privacy wall. ... Meanwhile, on the other side of the barbed wire fence, coaches and administrators are forcing student athletes to 'friend' them in order to monitor their activity of social sites."
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Why Making Facebook Private Won't Protect You

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  • Re:Decline (Score:4, Informative)

    by kj_kabaje (1241696) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:14AM (#39286513)
    Turning? Where do you live that isn't fascist already (in the classical sense)?  Business and government do seem rather cozy pretty much where you go.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:34AM (#39286713)
    This (perhaps naive) effort is an attempt to prevent gang agents from infiltrating the department. Local gangs are actively recruiting relatives and acquaintances without criminal histories to work as correctional officers. Many of those job applicants are barely literate and do not realize that their Facebook pages are a give away of their gang connections. They simply give up that information. Apparently, the next step would be full lifestyle checks akin to what fed agencies do. Much more expensive but also effective. Disclaimer: I do work for MD DPSCS.
  • by Weezul (52464) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:40AM (#39286769)

    You should remind them that accessing another user's account is a violation of facebook's terms of service, even if that user gives them permission, which potentially makes it a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (18 U.S.C. 1030) [], i.e. a felony.

    In addition, there are various other questions that employers cannot ask during interviews because doing so violates federal equal employment opportunity legislation [], meaning that accessing a user's facebook account opens them up to lawsuits.

    There is however one valid legal use for asking users for their facebook accounts, namely screening out employees who'll create a security risk by being especially vulnerable to social engineering. If an employee will have access to sensitive user or employee account information, then you might reasonable ask them for their facebook account password. If they provide it, you politely tell them they have failed the interview, thank them for their time, and send them home early. If they refuse, then you tell them they answered that question correctly and continue with the interview.

  • by galego (110613) <> on Thursday March 08, 2012 @08:59AM (#39286985)

    That might work for 3 weeks or so until FB automatically resets permissions to default-world-viewable and you have to manually fix them again.

  • by QuincyDurant (943157) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @10:01AM (#39287755)

    The only reason this happens is that Facebook is a comparatively new thing, and it takes a while for issues likes these to work their way through the courts. Employers are nuts to ask for the irrelevant personal information that almost any Facebook account contains. []

  • by TheRedSeven (1234758) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @10:45AM (#39288483) Homepage
    This is a common misconception about EEOC regulation. There is no such thing as a "question that employers cannot ask during interviews." (Erm, I guess you are not allowed to ask about one exception.) An interviewer can ask whatever they want. Seriously.

    The only catch is that if they ask something about your race, sex, religion, or national origin, they can't use your answer as a reason to hire/not hire you. So there's really no point in asking the question. But it's not illegal--of itself--to ask the question. It's just pointless and stupid (and risks alienating an otherwise good job candidate, and possibly opening yourself to litigation if the candidate thinks his/her answer was the basis for not getting the job).

    Since I'm going to get a "Citation Needed" tag, here you go: []
  • Re:An easy solution (Score:5, Informative)

    by networkBoy (774728) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @11:03AM (#39288773) Homepage Journal

    I've had one interview where they asked me for access to my private profile.
    I politely asked why, since I have my profile set to private for a reason (it's for family communication only really).
    Their response was that they wanted to see if I had posted anything negative about my former employer. I said, no that would be silly, it was prohibited by the NDA. They let it drop at that.

Adapt. Enjoy. Survive.