(LA Times Editorial) A social media trend we don’t ‘like’

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Be careful about the personal information and opinions you broadcast online, we are wisely and repeatedly told. Anyone from a prospective employer to an insurance company might be interested in details that you'll regret divulging someday.

But employers cross a bright, hard line when they demand, as some do, that job applicants divulge their passwords to Facebook and other social media sites, or have them log on so the interviewer can scrutinize their likes and dislikes, their relationships, their photos, their friends' personal information.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchBlogging & the Internet--Social NetworkingLaw & Legal Issues* Economics, PoliticsEconomyCorporations/Corporate LifeLabor/Labor Unions/Labor Market

5 Comments
Posted March 29, 2012 at 5:45 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Bart Hall (Kansas, USA) wrote:

We must remember here that for the most part employers are held liable for the actions of their employees. In a economy where we have a choice amongst multiple applicants—and are held by civil law to “due diligence”—do you think that perhaps, just maybe, we’re going to want to understand who a person really is before hiring?

As a small business I don’t hire a lot of people, but I do hire primarily on character and personality. One of my preferred interview questions is “How do you get along with your father?” I am decidedly uninterested in hiring someone with “father issues” because I (or a supervisor) will become the proxy.

For important hires businesses SHOULD run background and credit checks. A potential employee had better be willing to make such things possible ... or look for work elsewhere. Demanding an FB password is too much, but requiring applicants to open their FB Home in your presence is not, if the position is in any way sensitive.

For my retail side it you have tats, piercings, dreads, or any hint of unkempt demeanor—fuggedaboudit. If you’re going to be handling cash you’d better be prepared to prove your solid character to me, and part of that is willingness to let me see what you did when you thought nobody but a few friends was watching.

To the extent that governments attempt to regulate away businesses’ ability to evaluate character we’ll be seeing more and more mechanization, contract positions, and figuring out how to get by with fewer people. NONE of that helps young people enter the job market and gain experience.

The do-gooders who think they’re helping employees are actually reducing their chances of employment at all. #FAIL.

March 29, 8:36 am | [comment link]
2. Catholic Mom wrote:

When I was a kid, my father always told me “never put in writing anything you would not want to see published on the front page of the NY Times.”  I have lived by that rule all my life, and that includes whatever I type in an email, text message, facebook, blog, or anywhere else (under my own name or a “screen name” which is easily traced).  If you have to “contextualize” anything you’ve written to explain why it isn’t as stupid/obnoxious/illegal/mean as it appears, then you shouldn’t write it.  If it’s too embarassing for the entire world to see, then you shouldn’t write it.  If you do not want your employer/mother/spouse/neighbor/kid to read it, then you shouldn’t write it.  Yes, I take it that seriously. 

For those who have been following the Dharun Ravi/Tyler Clementi case (Dharun Ravi lives in my neighborhood so we have all been following the case very closely) these kids lived their entire life, their every thought, via twitter, Facebook, text message etc.  I honestly think if they woke up in the middle of the night with a bad dream they’d feel compelled to grab their smartphones and tweet about it.  Now they all wish they had had a lot more “privacy.”  Privacy begins by restraining your fingers on the keyboard.

March 29, 9:28 am | [comment link]
3. Teatime2 wrote:

#2—I saw the TV interview with that young man last week. If he was being on the level, he is being blamed and paying the price for everything that upset Tyler Clementi. Honestly, what he tweeted wasn’t anything different from what anyone would say to friends after being kicked out of one’s room because the roommate was having a sexual liaison. If he’s telling the truth, he didn’t record the encounters, nor did he harass him or encourage harassment.

Tyler Clementi apparently was having a sexual relationship with what Ravi described as a creepy older dude. And because Ravi didn’t cheer him on, he’s being blamed for the suicide. Clementi’s parents didn’t take their son’s announcement well and weren’t supportive, either, but they couldn’t very well charge the parents. And, Heaven forbid, Mr. Clementi’s suicide couldn’t have been his own tragic choice—it had to have been triggered by someone else because LGBTs are all victims, right? Sigh ...

March 29, 1:45 pm | [comment link]
4. optimus prime wrote:

Who doesn’t have two facebook accounts: one for parental figures and more ‘formal friends’ and one for one’s closer friends? Give the password for the latter. I don’t know what the problem is here.

March 29, 2:32 pm | [comment link]
5. C. Wingate wrote:

Actually, Facebook requires that you not give your password out to anyone. Period. It’s part of the user agreement. And they’ve made noises that they’re going to start suing employers who make such demands.

March 29, 2:42 pm | [comment link]
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