If you’re a student or young professional, or anyone with any kind of personal social media presence, you are likely aware of the recent news in which some employers and schools are demanding Facebook passwords. It is quite shocking, as requesting the password for something so personal seems similar to requesting to read your personal email, or have access to your PIN number. We all know that is pretty unacceptable and would never happen, right? Then why is it okay to ask for a Facebook password?
Earlier this month, Mashable posted a great infographic from BackgroundCheck.org that explores the “Social Network Users’ Bill of Rights.” It’s in response to this social media privacy debate, which is continuing to heat up. In fact, just today, a New York Congressman has introduced federal legislation that would “make it illegal for employers and educational institutions to require a potential employee, or a potential or current student, to divulge personal online information as part of the hiring, enrollment or discipline process,” according to this MSNBC.com article.
While privacy is obviously at the center of this debate, it’s also a lesson in discretion. Although a future college or employer shouldn’t have access to your password, it’s safe to assume they will look at your Facebook page or Twitter handle. It’s a reminder to all to ensure you are representing yourself, your brand, your business, etc.. in a good light. Be mindful that, even with privacy settings, anything you put online could get into the hands of just about anyone. Make sure your digital footprint is a positive reflection of who you are. Social networking has truly changed the way we communicate, and while being open and honest is great, some things are better left off your Facebook or Twitter profile.
Where do you fall in this debate? Do you think employers and universities should have access to your passwords?