Facebook takes a stand against bosses requesting employee passwords

Facebook may have all the dirt on you, but it doesn’t think your boss should too.

The issue of employers requesting their employees’ Facebook passwords has recently come to the fore. In response to these kinds of reports, the social network has issued a statement damning the practise.

According to Facebook, “this practice undermines the privacy expectations and the security of both the user and the user’s friends”.

Moreover, the social network believes that employers who engage in the practise are opening themselves up to “to unanticipated legal liability”.

If an employer looks at someone’s Facebook profile and sees, for instance, that someone is a member of a protected group they may open themselves up to claims of discrimination if they choose not to hire that person.

It also point out that some employers “may not have the proper policies and training for reviewers to handle private information” and that they “may assume liability for the protection of the information they have seen or for knowing what responsibilities may arise based on different types of information (e.g. if the information suggests the commission of a crime)”.

Facebook adds that:

If you are a Facebook user, you should never have to share your password, let anyone access your account, or do anything that might jeopardise the security of your account or violate the privacy of your friends.

It also claims — privacy nuts hold back your laughter for a moment here — that it has “worked really hard… to give you the tools to control who sees your information”.

According to Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, the company believes that “you shouldn’t be forced to share your private information and communications just to get a job” and that your friends shouldn’t have to worry either.

As such it claims to have “made it a violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities to share or solicit a Facebook password”.

The social networking giant has also threatened to take legal action against anyone that abuses the privacy privileges of its users.



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