Help Me I’m Poor.

There’s been a lot of buzz lately on the horrifying news that some employers have been asking for interviewee’s Facebook passwords.  If you haven’t heard about it yet… you must have a job.

I first learned of this apparent new trend while sitting in my Social Media class a couple Wednesday’s ago. One of my fellow students mentioned it to my professor, astounding myself and many other students.  At this point, I can’t even tell you where this started.  If you search “employers asking for Facebook passwords” on Google.com, a number of articles pop up, all telling different stories of different people going in for an interview and leaving feeling a bit violated and severely confused.

I realize that today’s job market is more competitive than ever, and people are doing whatever it takes to land a job, any job.  For that reason, I am even MORE astounded over the fact that Congress did not vote in favor of a law that would prohibit employers from asking for passwords like this.  Granted, I know very little about the way that law and government works, other than what my Communications Ethics, Law and Regulation class is teaching me this semester.  However, someone needs to protect us unemployed desperately indebted peoples!

I read in the Wall Street Journal last week that student debt has now surpassed $1 TRILLION.  Do you KNOW how much money that is!?!?  In an effort to be as cliche as possible- desperate times call for desperate measures.  So if a potential employer, a.k.a. a potential solution to my thousands of dollars of debt, asks for my password, well, I might give it to them.  I probably will at least think it over… don’t judge me, I’m poor!  And so is SO much of the rest of the 20-30-year-old world these days.

[Photo credit to mmaytheoddsbeeverinyourfavor on Tumblr]

I just have a simple question for all of you to answer- what is this world coming to?  Since when is it “okay” to ask for someone’s password, for anything?  [Side note: No, it’s not okay for your boyfriend/girlfriend to ask either.  My only advice for you people dealing with that issue is to run.  Run far, far away.  Knowing your s/o’s Facebook password is a dangerous, scary thing that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone.  I’M SERIOUS GUYS DON’T DO IT YOU WILL HATE THEM OR YOURSELF AFTERWARDS… Whoa.  Sorry.  Flashbacks are a very real thing.]

I understand that background checks are a part of the employment process in more ways than one, but I truly believe that asking for Facebook passwords is taking it just a tad too far.  I doubt I could find anyone who disagrees with me, but PLEASE, if you do, give me your rationale in the comments.  Any other support- monetary or otherwise- is welcome.

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4 thoughts on “Help Me I’m Poor.

  1. Ariel J. says:

    Well said Emily. There is this little thing called the Constitution of the United States that a law like this would violate, particularly my rights to privacy and free speech. Some may argue that there is no violation of free speech because you can still say whatever you want. However, any law that encroaches on my uninhibited freedom to say, do and post as i wish is in my opinion, a violation of the rights governed by our Constitution. Now, If a company wants to pay another agency a couple million dollars to hack into my account and check my page, good for you, but you have to work for that kind of information. It should not be an automatic handover. Furthermore, this is a slippery slope to the future. What if Facebook is not enough? What happens when employers want my gmail or my yahoo account. Those accounts, like Facebook have a private policy no sharing clause. However, it seems that the clauses are completely overlooked, or disregarded by the employers. Technically, by violating their terms of use, these social networks can kick you off their site. They are within their right to do so. I am waiting for these social media networks to ban together and bring a suit against the U.S. or they risk losing many avid friends and followers!

  2. Oh. My. Gosh Emily. I could not have said it better myself! Not only is asking for our Facebook passwords an invasion of our privacy, it’s darn near disrespectful. As you mentioned, finding a job now is harder than ever. Who would have thought employers would make it even harder.
    What can an employer determine by the messages I send my friends? Or other things that have nothing to do with job performance? Facebook made a statement saying they did not agree with employers asking potential employees for their passwords. If they are against this as the creators of the social media platform, than so should organizations. In fact a study showed that though employers may ask for a password from the interviewee, 51% would not like that question asked of them. Sheesh. What happened to the golden rule? You know, do unto others… all of that. It’s just shameful that one more thing is keeping us and our peers away from a paycheck. Can we get a break? What’s next for the interview process? They want to spend a day shadowing us and sleeping in our homes to determine sleep patterns? Who knows, we just want a fair chance at getting a job!

    • I agree with you Emily and the comments above! Yes It is known to all of us that when you apply for a job, most employers will run a background check, including on your social media presence. If you don’t have your privacy settings securely made, employers may be able to see photos and posts that could conflict with your professional image. However, I don’t think it is okay for an employer to even consider asking for your Facebook password.

      It is without a doubt that if an employer asks for that information, they have gone too far to invade your privacy. For me, this is really no different from asking for your email password, access to your computer, or asking to physically search your home. Most of us would say no to those requests no matter how badly we needed the job. However, if more and more people agree to giving out their passwords, this could create a norm where it is okay for employers to ask for such private information. Therefore, I think it is great that people are voicing their opinions and expressing how this is an invasion of privacy. In our own little way, we are protesting against these issues and hopefully the Facebook tide will soon turn.

  3. I could not agree more with Emily. I think this is a sign of our times. It is an employer’s market and they know it. The recent graduates are in a situation where even landing an interview is an achievement. Asking for a Facebook password crosses the line though.

    I personally would never even want to work for a company that does not trust me enough to have common sense when it comes to my social media use. How you portray yourself online can have an effect on your future employment opportunities. The majority of recent graduates are aware of this. The Maryland Division of Corrections (and others employers that have asked for passwords) should know better.

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