Congress doesn’t see anything wrong with employers asking potential job candidates for their Facebook passwords. They just turned down an amendment that would change the FCC’s current internet privacy law.
The specific amendment stated that ““Nothing in this Act or any amendment made by this Act shall be construed to limit or restrict the ability of the Federal Communications Commission to adopt a rule or to amend an existing rule to protect online privacy, including requirements in such rule that prohibit licensees or regulated entities from mandating that job applicants or employees disclose confidential passwords to social networking web sites.”
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Democratic representative from Colorado Ed Perlmutter brought this bill to congress yesterday but it lost by 236 to 184. It was reported that only one republican voted for the amendment.
Perlmutter spoke in favor of the proposed amendment before introducing it:
People have an expectation of privacy when using social media like Facebook and Twitter. They have an expectation that their right to free speech and religion will be respected when they use social media outlets. No American should have to provide their confidential personal passwords as a condition of employment.
Both users of social media and those who correspond share the expectation of privacy in their personal communications. Employers essentially can act as imposters and assume the identity of an employee and continually access, monitor, and even manipulate an employee’s personal social activities and opinions. That’s simply a step too far.
The amendment could still be taken to state or federal levels in the near future.
Facebook is a popular social media website that has been embraced by individuals and companies alike. Many companies use such websites to check up on potential and current employers to assess whether or not they could be an asset to the company or not. There is really nothing wrong with companies checking up on potential employers via social media, but I think there is something wrong with asking for a password for the login because that’s personal and it could be potentially dangerous.