Logging-On to Facebook Privacy

6 years 2 weeks 2 hours ago Tuesday, May 08 2012 May 8, 2012 Tuesday, May 08, 2012 5:09:00 AM CDT May 08, 2012 in News
By: Megan Rice
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COLUMBIA - Imagine you walk into a job interview. Resume in hand. Butterflies in your stomach. Dressed to impress. You sit down for you interview and you are asked the following question: "Can I have your Facebook username and password?"

The Associated Press reported in late March, that some employers -- both businesses and government -- are asking interviewees to give their facebook log-in information. The employers want to peak at the candidates' personal lifestyle. 

Asking for Facebook log-in information is not against the law or first amendment rights, "It is not the government that is asking for your information directly, it is an outside private party member" says Columbia Missourian Attorney Sandy Davidson. "If you do not want to give up that information, say thank you and excuse yourself".

Government offices are turning towards asking for peoples Facebook information during interviews. However, Senate Administrator Jim Howerton said, "What you put on Facebook is public information for us to look at if we want. But we have never even discussed looking at Facebook username and password."

Yet one government office employer in St. Louis said she understands that government jobs haver more strict standards. Clair Gaines has worked for the government for 7 years but said "I have never actually been asked for my username and password." 

Although she has never been asked for her log-in information her job does monitor the sites she uses at works as well as her Facebook account, "We can't have any inappropriate pictures or pictures of us in our work attire" said Gaines. 

"People really need to be careful about what they put out there in order to protect their reputation in a social and professional standard" said Gaines. 

The use of social media has drastically increased over the last decade. Facebook currently has 845 million active users and more than 50% of the population of North America uses it. Requiring Facebook log-in information is not against the law and is the interviewee's option to refuse -- but maybe fail the job interview as a result. 

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