You Can Pry My Facebook Password From My Cold, Dead Hands

By March 15, 2012Media, Social Media

There was an amazing article posted last week that reported a new and highly disturbing trend. Here is a recap. Apparently, more and more employers, college admissions offices, and even sports coaches are under the mistaken impression that they have the right to request or even demand login and password information to potential employees or applicants’ Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube accounts so they can browse them for potentially damaging information contained in posts.

I’m sorry, but I think that’s completely, totally, heinously inappropriate. Not only is it a serious invasion of privacy, highly presumptuous, rude, obnoxious, patronizing and potentially illegal, but it probably won’t work. Any player, student, or applicant worth having will probably run away from these opportunities because they will see this amazing privacy breach for what it is, a serious overreach. In other cases, they will simply conceal their true identity with dummy accounts designed to retain the privacy we all know is our right. Others will simply close their accounts, if the job is serious enough.

My problem is that I don’t think anyone should have to choose between employment, education, sports, and privacy. Last time I checked, it was an inalienable right. I can see certain industries, like national security or defense, requesting accounts to be closed or suspended, but I cannot advocate requiring actual access to personal account information as a condition of anything valid or legitimate, ever, nor can I condone forced friendship for “monitoring purposes.” What happens in the public area is fair game. Scrutinize all you want any thing I post for public consumption. But my friends, my data, my private time outside of areas I agree to share are just that–MINE. You can pry them from my cold dead hands. If you dare.



  • cvillemegan says:

    I agree, and it goes completely against the advice I give people at my job: Keep your professional and personal lives separate on social media. 
    It will backfire on any employer who tries it. The companies who find themselves on “Best places to work for” lists are the ones who recognize you have a life outside of work and are OK with letting you figure out how that will mix with your career. 

  • jen_alluisi says:

    DAMN. SKIPPY. Dave and I were talking about this last night over dinner. To me, it would be the same as a potential employer (or whatever) asking to come inspect my home before hiring me. (Or, honestly, the stupid law currently being debated in Arizona that will require women to tell their employers if they use birth control – even if their employer-funded insurance doesn’t pay for the birth control they use.) It is a massive, ridiculous, gross violation of privacy. I have nothing to hide, honestly, but if a potential (or current) employer tried to coerce me to hand over such information, they would promptly get the bird.

  • VolvoCville says:

    I completely agree! My passwords are MINE. My personal life is MINE. We all do have to be aware, however, that it’s very hard to keep anything you put online truly private. If you complain about work on your Facebook page and call your boss names, you should expect that it will come back and bite you in the behind. Just like if you record a sex tape, you shouldn’t be too surprised when it ends up on YouTube!