Social networking giant Facebook is warning employers that they may face legal action if they indeed demand Facebook passwords from users applying for jobs.
The Associated Press, reporting from New York this morning, said the reported widespread practice of prospective employers asking for applicants’ social media passwords is an invasion of privacy that could open such companies to possible lawsuits.
A Facebook executive, who reacted to recent research on reported employers’ demands, said a user should not reveal his username or password under pressure just to get a job.
Facebook privacy of policy officer Erin Egan told AP that if an employer, for instance, finds out that an applicant is a member of a so-called protected group, that employer will receive a lawsuit for discrimination if the applicant will not get the job.
The AP report pointed out that it is social media policy and Internet conduct not to share passwords. Citing this tenet, Facebook warned that the prospect of widespread sharing of passwords involving employers and job applicants—or employees themselves—could be a security risk.
Yesterday, a bill was reportedly being prepared in the US Senate aimed at enacting a law to prohibit employers from demanding social media usernames and passwords from job applicants, citing invasion of privacy concerns.
Numerous documented reports have been circulating throughout the media and the Internet about job seekers withdrawing their applications after employers insisted to give up their passwords on social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.