Facebook v. Employers

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Obvious tips to prepare for a job interview: Dress appropriately, research the company and make a list of your best assets. One not-so-obvious tip for an interview — temporarily delete your Facebook page, or at least delete any raunchy photos posted from that Vegas trip last weekend.

With social media growing more popular, employers are learning the tricks of the trade when it comes to interviewing potential job candidates. Facebook is a site used as free advertisement — so what better way for employers to see how you market yourself? Ultimately, your Facebook profile may determine whether you would fit in well with the company that you are interviewing for.

Even if you have your profile settings set to private, it doesn’t matter. On March 28, the Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2012 failed to pass in Congress when it was voted against 236 to 184. Employers are now able to demand Facebook passwords from interviewees without it being considered an illegal breach of privacy.

The bill was proposed by Representative Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) who said the bill would have promoted privacy.

Republicans lawmakers criticized the amendment, calling it unnecessary and arguing the legislation wouldn’t help the situation. However, another amendment to address this issue is possible in the future.

Richard Parry, associate professor in the Management Department at Cal State Fullerton, primarily focuses on business law and legal studies.

“The law does not do what the summary said it would do,” said Parry. “In fact, the way the law read, it was actually quite limited. It’s limited to companies regulated by the FCC.”

Parry said the impact of the bill is limited to only telecommunication companies. According to Parry, it is unlikely for telecommunication companies to ask for a Facebook password because they are given certain questions to ask interviewees relating to their ability to perform a job.

Nonetheless, with the unemployment rate as high as it is, and people willing to take any job they can lay their hands on, some CSUF students draw the line when it comes to being asked to give up their privacy.

Angela Kreit 20, an art major at CSUF, believes this is a complete invasion of privacy.

“I understand them looking at your Facebook page when your profile is public, I know employers do that. But when it comes to them asking for your Facebook password, it’s absolutely ridiculous. That is not OK,” said Kriet.

Even though it hasn’t happened to her, Katie Egan, 21, a human services major, will never give up her Facebook password even if asked to do so.

“If I walk into an interview and the employer asks for, or even demands, my password, I will definitely turn him down, even if it’s at the expense of me getting a job,” said Egan. “And if that’s the case, I wouldn’t even want to work for a company where the employer likes to snoop around.”

According to Declan McCullagh of CBS News Tech Talk, “It was a transparent, if clever, delaying tactic. If Perlmutter actually wanted to add that pro-privacy section to the bill, he could have suggested an amendment instead of returning it to committee.”

With the election coming up, political tactics are becoming more intense. Even though politics may have stirred the pot a little, the good news here is you can still post those adventurous, fun-filled, wild nights you had in Vegas — without professional repercussions.

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