Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Why Making Facebook Private Won't Protect You

Comments Filter:
  • Common Sense (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @09:07AM (#39286449) Homepage Journal
    Another reminder of why one shouldn't social network at all. Some may say that an employer or coach may force you to get a facebook profile, but it's much easier to fight it, let it slip through the cracks, or even comply when you get to start from a clean slate.
  • Belgium! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 08, 2012 @09:08AM (#39286453)

    I'm happy to live in a country where such practices are illegal.

  • Re:An easy solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PARENA ( 413947 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @09:09AM (#39286465) Homepage

    Better solution if you do use Facebook: laugh at the people demanding to see what you're up to and walk away.

  • Distress password? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 08, 2012 @09:12AM (#39286487)

    It shouldn't be hard to allow users to add a distress password that would make Facebook appear logged in but would hide anything that would not be visible to outsiders.

  • Re:An easy solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ZeroSumHappiness ( 1710320 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @09:12AM (#39286491)

    If it's a checkbox requirement, that won't help. "Don't have an account." "Right. Refused to log into Facebook. And now Google+, please."

    I'm not usually one for regulation, but this seems like an easy one. Employers must not require employees, contractors or applicants to interact with the company through any social networking service with their personal accounts. Employers must not require employees, contractors or applicants to utilize any social networking service with their personal accounts. Employers may require employees to interact with the company and use a company-provided account on a social networking service as part of their regular job. This could easily fit into a fair employment act.

    (I look forward to holes being poked in my prospective law.)

  • Re:An easy solution (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MoonBuggy ( 611105 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @09:22AM (#39286575) Journal

    While I couldn't agree with you more, and wouldn't in a million years be willing to work for an organisation who would do something like that, it's still worth remembering that "choice" for many people boils down to "Give us your password or enjoy another six months of unemployment.". The issue is certainly exacerbated by the fact that plenty of people will roll over in any case, but the coercive element is what really keeps things like this going. That and the moronic managers who actually feel they have something to gain by this kind of thing, anyway.

    The question, of course, is what to do about it? That's where I'm stuck - it is a problem in itself, and an outright ban would solve it (assuming one feels that doing so is within the government's rights), but it would do nothing about the mentality that led here in the first place.

  • by DiSKiLLeR ( 17651 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @09:28AM (#39286637) Homepage Journal

    I used to use facebook since the early days.

    But then I deleted it. My google+, facebook, all gone.

    Got sick of the privacy issues, having my personal information being sold for money (while I get NO benefit from it), and now THIS ....

  • Re:An easy solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DrgnDancer ( 137700 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @09:37AM (#39286737) Homepage

    Of course, that does assume the ability to walk away from a job opportunity without excessive repercussions...

    Therein lies the problem, of course. My first reaction on seeing this was "Right, I'm not taking that job... I'm not even finishing the interview." Then I thought back to a few periods in my life where my ability to live without outside support had been put into serious question by lack of employment; and realized that while I may say that now, there have been times and may be times again where I needed the job. It's easy to be choosey from the relative comfort of a pretty good paying job. I have enough savings now that I'd be fine for several months at least in the event of job loss, so I don't see me being that desperate any time soon. But let's face it. Life's sometimes a bitch. Anything could happen.

    That said, I've held a security clearance, and known people with even higher security ratings; and even the Feds don't go demanding to see your Facebook profile. This shit is ridiculous.

  • Re:An easy solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by pla ( 258480 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @09:38AM (#39286755) Journal
    How about maintain two FB profiles, one for friends and one 'work safe' one with work colleagues on it.

    Better solution - Maintain a fake 2nd page covered in information about how much you support various federally protected classes to which you may (or may not) actually belong.

    Then watch them squirm when they try to come up with any plausible reason to give the job to the boss' young white Christian nephew rather than to a reasonably qualified older gay Muslim African-American (whether in the "Samuel Jackson" or the "Dave Matthews" sense of the term).

    Asking for access to personal material opens a whole can of legal issues that most employers don't want, and it surprises me any would actively seek to subject themselves to such accusations. Hell, my own current employer actually has a policy banning managers from searching the intarwebs for job applicants, just to avoid these issues.
  • Re:An easy solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Apothem ( 1921856 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @09:52AM (#39286901)
    This. A million times this. The fact that employers get away with this and the Feds can't really shows that there is something seriously wrong. Coporations can invade us day and night blatantly, but if you're a federal agency you might need to jump through some hoops first. Since when are corporations allowed to go above the law?
  • Re:An easy solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Oligonicella ( 659917 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @09:54AM (#39286925)
    I had one prospective employer ask if I had a FB account. "No. That's just too first grade for me."

    Interesting reaction. He really wanted to ask something, but he kind of shut down in three of four steps and went on to something else.

    No, I didn't take that job anyway. Other reasons. You can always out-wit the PHBs.
  • Re:An easy solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by realityimpaired ( 1668397 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @10:33AM (#39287385)

    Considering that the interview was for work in a prison, perhaps there's another reason?

    If I were hiring people to be peace officers, and asked them to show me their Facebook profile during an interview, I would not hire anybody who accepted and let me look at the profile. If they don't understand that it's wrong to search without probable cause to suspect wrongdoing, then I don't want them in that job.

    Then again, the fact that I think like that would probably disqualify me from being in a position where I'm making that kind of hiring decision....

  • Re:An easy solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Minupla ( 62455 ) <minupla@@@gmail...com> on Thursday March 08, 2012 @10:41AM (#39287473) Homepage Journal

    There is something between a warrent and hacking. It's called "asking". If facebook recieves a request for information from a fedreal agency, they can choose to comply (I doubt there's anything in the contract you have with them that prohibits it) of their own free will. No warrent required.

    The feds might even say "Please".


  • Re:An easy solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kamelkev ( 114875 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @11:12AM (#39287911)

    > and even the Feds don't go demanding to see your Facebook profile.

    That's probably because they don't need your permission in order to look at your profile. My understanding is that background checks by the FBI include a review of your online profiles - they just do it through a back channel that isn't public.

    I recently interviewed a sysadmin who had no privacy settings on his facebook page. I found this a little troubling because I find innate privacy concerns to be a key attribute of a good sysadmin. When I asked him about this he commented on how routine follow up background checks as part of his current position (which was for a branch of the government) had made those privacy settings a farce to him. They can see the data anyway, so the only person he was fooling was himself.

  • Re:An easy solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dishevel ( 1105119 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @11:50AM (#39288549)

    Above the law?
    You may like it or not but there is no such law.
    People should move back a bit and remember you do not have a right to work for me.
    The government is currently in the US trying to change that and the California government has so far done a good job of trying to make it a right but really it is not.

    Now I know you want to scream at me and let me know that it is a right.
    Really though it is not. If I had spent 5 years doing 100 hour weeks to build a business I would rather burn it down than put some fucking "club rat" or "thug" where a customer can ever see them. It just is not worth the risk to me. You can go get a job at a club or working with real thugs. Your rights end where they threaten mine.
    Mostly I would never check Facebook profile. Mostly I can tell what type of person someone interviewing is. If I have a question though where I feel that a Facebook check would make me feel better about hiring you .... I just wont fucking hire you.

  • Re:An easy solution (Score:4, Interesting)

    by happyhamster ( 134378 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @02:04PM (#39290521)

    You should take yet another step back and recall that you do not have a right to run a business either. You might have delusions that it's a right, but it's not. The very existence of your "business" depends on the society, through the government, setting up the legal framework to run businesses, maintaining law and order, maintaining monetary system, educating workforce etc. With all that infrastructure in place, the society, through government, lets you run a business as long as it's beneficial to society. For example, most businesses employ people, which is beneficial to society, so they are allowed to function. Business owner is allowed to keep some of the profits from the business as incentive.

    The bottom line is that your "business" is not really yours, but a product of society. If you want to run a business, you better play nice with society and make sure you treat your employees as equals and not some underclass slaves, or you may not be allowed to use the society's infrastructure to run your shenanigans.

  • by chicago_scott ( 458445 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @02:54PM (#39291407) Journal

    I'll allow a perceptive employer to see my Facebook page if they'll let me see the company financial books. That way we can both know there's no funny business going on.

    Otherwise we can both agree to trust each other and get some work done.

Evolution is a million line computer program falling into place by accident.