May 02 2012

Employers May Not Need Your Facebook Login After All

If information is blasted out on social media, even to a select group, it's one click away from being made public.

When news broke of some employers asking current and potential employees for their Facebook logins, many reacted intensely to what was widely perceived as a gross privacy intrusion.

But the problem with social media is that by its nature, it’s not meant to be a private communication medium.

Even though Facebook offers a multitude of privacy settings, all it takes is for one friend to screen capture or share something that you shared for it to be made public, as The Christian Science Monitor points out.

Some employers, the Monitor reports, are going the simple route, by just friending their employees to gain access to their page:

Human resources departments will simply switch to sending “friend requests” to applicants and presenting this view of the individual during the interview process, says Charles Palmer, executive director of the Center for Advanced Entertainment & Learning Technologies at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology in Pennsylvania.

“It’s a little less overt and completely legal,” he says via e-mail, adding that he expects “to see more investment into ‘social forensics’ to help weed out the applicant pool.”

The main thing for potential – and current – employees to remember is that any information that can be accessed on a computer is potentially going to be used in a hiring process, says Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com.

Most people with time and the right knowledge and technology “can access information that’s been posted online, even if it’s been posted to a social media profile that’s been made private,” she says via e-mail. Both employees and employers need to realize that anything they put online, could end up being public, she adds.

If you act like everything you do and say on social media is being broadcast on national television, then you should be fine. This might dissuade some from using social media all together, but it’s important to know what the consequences might be of putting out potentially compromising information about yourself on the web.

For more great content from around the web, check out the 50 Must-Read IT Blogs from BizTech.