SURVEY SAYS: Would You Give a Potential Employer Your Facebook Password?

There’s been much news lately about employers asking job candidates for Facebook login information, and whether this is an invasion of privacy.

Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, would you give a potential employer your Facebook password?  

It was very clear how NewsDash readers felt about the issue as 90% of those responding said they definitely would not give their Facebook login information to a potential employer, and 80% said they think employers asking for such information should be illegal.  

Eight percent indicated they may give a potential employer their Facebook login information, depending on the circumstance, and 1% said they would provide that information. Twenty percent responded that they don’t think employers asking for such information should be illegal.  

As for verbatim comments, one reader made the good point that four of the questions it is illegal for an employer to ask in an interview are part of a person’s Facebook profile.  The vast majority think asking for Facebook login information is an invasion of privacy. My personal favorites were: “Any employer who asks a job candidate for his password to any system and gets it should expect that, if hired, the employee will have no qualms about giving out the password for the employer’s computer network to anyone who requests it. Why should an employee worry about the security of the employer’s private data if the employer has no concern about the security of the employee’s private data?” and “Never say never. But if an employer asked for my facebook password, and I really wanted/needed the job, I think I’d set up a fake account and direct them there. In fact, I may go set that up right now.”


Employers can view public posts without login information. Anything non-public is by definition private, making this an invasion of privacy. They don't have the right to view my non-public information any more than they have the right to request I hand over my personal laptop for examination. It's an absolute invasion of privacy. 


First, how about a response for those of us who don't have a Facebook account and could care less about it? On topic, asking for someone's password is ridiculous but I think you should be able to ask the person to log in and show you their page... 


We the people need to stand up for our rights, or we will start losing them. This is essentially an act of robbery. 


Don't think it should be illegal, but providing it shouldn't be a condition of employment or disqualify you from consideration of employment. 


I don't have a password because I don't use Facebook but I think that the only thing that a potential employer should look at is your resume. 


How many times have you heard, "Don't give your login to anyone. 


So the HR folks and hiring manager aren't wasting enogh time on their own FB and want to go to mine to follow my sister's Farmville activity? Calling my business references would be a more productive activity. 


I dont recall being asked to provide pictures and documentation of my out of work activites prior to facebook so why the hell would I give them access now. It should be mentioned that I don't even know what my password is since I haven't been on it in years. Ha you didnt suck everyone into your time wasting spiral Facebook. Score one for the counter culture! 


You can't ask someone someone their age, whether or not they're a US citizen, what religion they are, whether they're married, whether they have kids, whether they plan on starting a family and leaving the company soon, what their sexual orientation is, whether they have any disabilities, what clubs or social organizations they belong to, etc, etc, but you can ask for their Facebook password?!? If you use Facebook the way I do, it's a relaxed social interaction with friends old and new. Unless I'm using it on company time with company computers, it's nobody's business what I 'like' and 'lol' on Facebook. 


I'm not clear on the reason/need for this information? Sure they can look at your Facebook - but what is the purpose of them having your password - and why on earth would that be legal? Moreover, why would they want that responsibility - having someone else in the company with password(s) to employees personal sites/information? There must be legal/business risk there... 


it is a complete violation of privacy. 


This is a clear invasion of privacy which has no bearing on an employee's ability to do the job they are applying for. 


While I have absolutely nothing to hide, the minute the interviewer would ask the question, I would declare the interview over and walk out.

Verbatim (cont.)  

I don't have a problem with asking an employee to allow the employer to view their facebook information, but they should not be asking for the login information. 


Is anything sacred anymore? I rarely post anything on my FB page and I enjoy reading everyone's posts. Nevertheless, I would never give a potential or current employer login information because what happens outside of work is none of their business. However, if they would like to share THEIR personal FB login info, then maybe we can talk. 


Let me preface by saying I barely go on FB at all. Maybe once a week. I don't post pics or many "status updates" either. With that said, I would walk out the door the second they told me my FB PW was required for a job. I'm fed up with employers thinking they OWN employees. They pay us a wage to do a job. My job will never DEFINE me, nor will my employer. They need to get over themselves. Any company doing this should realize you're an uptick in the economy away from having a mass-exodus out your doors. 


I fear that the freedom people feel in Facebook to express themselves could/would be used by a potential employer when determining the abilities of an employee or job seeker. While this may seem a reasonable method of determining the type of person you are, it is not at all certain that it reflects your approach to your work life. Please leave my personal facebook personal. 


This is an invasion of privacy. They wouldn't ask a potential employee to share their personal diary. Facebook is along the lines of a personal diary. 


I'm on the hiring side of corporate America and I think it's ridiculous that some employers are asking for this. There should be a separation between work and personal time which no employer should be allowed to breach. 


Frankly, security regarding young kids -- your own, your grandkids -- and ways to identify and locate these children. Personal life stuff of which you may be ashamed is just dumb to post publically anyway. Such people shouldn't be hired based on common sense -- or lack thereof. 


Anything that has a password to gain access should be off limits to everyone except the person that has the password. It would be like asking for a candidate's password to their bank account. 


Giving in to this demand sends us all down the slippery slope of loss of privacy. 


The operative word here is "potential employer". There are 10 illegal job interview questions that a "potential employer" should not ask. Of which, four are part of a person's profile. The other six are things that would probably be discussed with friends and family on their Facebook page. Ergo, if the "potential employer" can't ask the questions in the interview, then they shouldn't be able to request a person's Facebook password which if they got the password they would have the answers to the illegal questions. 


No way would I give up my password to any personal account to a potential employer or even a current employer. What's happening to the concept of privacy? 


I choose not to have a Facebook account. You don't have an option for that in the answers, but if I did, I would not give my password. 


Companies all tout the security of personal information. Yet, by asking someone for their password aren't they being a bit hypocritical? 


I don't think the employer should be asking about my personal activities at all but I would never give them my password. That would allow them to act as me on Facebook. If they want to look me up on facebook or some other source then they can try to do that and depending on the circumstance I would consider accepting a friend request but not in most cases. I often think that my name is very common and how would they really know that an internet search gives them information about me and not someone else with the same name. A basic background check should give the employer everything they need to know before they hire me.

Verbatim (cont.)  

How I am as a person outside of work has absolutely no bearing on my job performance. I am an HR Manager and that has been my professional life for more than 25 years. But my boss and co-workers would probably be a little shocked if they knew what I was like outside of work, lol. Life is way too short to not enjoy it to the fullest. 


Why on earth would you want to see what someone has posted on their facebook?!>! 


Too much personal information on the candidate and their friends would be accessible to the potential employer. Also passwords should never be shared. 


No passwords should be released; bad precedent. 


This is absolutely ridiculous. Are they going to want the keys to my house next? There has to be a line between our work and personal lives, and I do believe giving employers my Facebook login info crosses that line. Besides, I wouldn't even want to work for a company that shows that type of mis-trust from the start. 


Any employer who asks a job candidate for his password to any system and gets it should expect that, if hired, the employee will have no qualms about giving out the password for the employer's computer network to anyone who requests it. Why should an employee worry about the security of the employer's private data if the employer has no concern about the security of the employee's private data? 


What will they ask for next? Permission to tap your phone or access your personal email account? 


My password to Facebook can give employers access to all types of information that it is illegal to ask about in an interview--age, marital status, religious affiliation, political views, etc. The request is clearly intended as subterfuge to current laws. 


It is opening the flood gates, are personal email log-ins next? What about bank log-ins? 


I believe we still have a constitution in this country. Individuals have a right to their private facebook page - to be able to post whatever they want to post - for the benefit of their private circle of friends/family. Employers gaining access to such private accounts under duress (threat of not being considered for a position), is a total violation of privacy rights. 


I can understand a potential employer wanting to see what type of activity I may engage in on my personal time if it's a matter of an image thing, but beyond that it's an invasion of privacy and down right rude. 


This is a definite invasion of privacy and should not be allowed. 


For me to give a potential employer my FB password depends on how bad I want/need the job. From the perspective of the employer, asking for the password seems amateur to me. As a potential employee, it would make me wonder whether it's worth it to work there. 


I may be wrong but to me Facebook is meant to be a Social Network a place to catch up with family and friends. 


I think that asking for Facebook login potentially opens employers up to discrimination lawsuits, as many of the questions that you can't ask in an interview (marital status, age, religion) are often answered once you get into someone's Facebook account.

Verbatim (cont.)  

There is nothing on my Facebook page that I would have a problem with my employer or the public seeing, but I think it is way out of bounds for an employer to ask for your Facebook password and furthermore, I do not think the employer has a need to know! 


As an employer, I would never ask. I don't ask my kids for theirs and I'm not asking potential employees for theirs. I consider it an invasion of privacy. We all have lives outside work and that's where it should be kept. If I make a mistake at hiring someone that I could have avoided, oh well, chalk it up to a "mistake" and move on. 


Considering all the questions that an employer can not ask in an interview, this is just a way around that. Individuals should be more vigilant to protect their privacy.In your survey it also would have been interesting to ask if you have a Facebook account and ask age categories. 


I thought it most user agreements (including Facebook) it states that you should not share your password with ANYONE... 


First rule of security is to never give your PW to anyone. Is this a test? I'd deny having a FB. POTENTIAL employer????? 


Facebook is personal and has nothing to do with the workplace. People should keep the two separate. 


Facebook is a personal service account and should not be violated by the employer. It is an unauthorized invasion of privacy. 


I would comment that I'm sure they have policies and procedures in place that prohibit the sharing of passwords. 


This is private and invasion of my privacy. My family conversations have nothing to do with my job at work. 


Facebook should not be used as a professional recruiting tool. 


I have nothing that would incriminate me but it's just none of their business. 


Hard to give anyone a Facebook password if you don't have a Facebook account. I love being anti-establishment. 


This is an invasion of privacy. Asking for this information is crossing the line. Facebook information should be just as private as financial accounts . Employers would never ask for the password for an prospective hire's bank would they? The content of a persons facebook page is not necessarily who they are. For example I have 5 friends on facebook. They are my family who live out of town. It does not mean that I have no friends, it means that I prefer to keep in touch the old fashioned way except for those who live far away. I cannot control what they post or who their friends are but I can control who sees the information by not giving my password out! Employers should do a better job of screening applicants by reviewing resume's, checking references, asking interview questions, conversing with the candidate. 


An employer can ask whatever they want, but they need to have good reason for asking. 


I don't think it is appropriate. 


This is a difficult topic to get my hands around because part of me thinks that this should be a part of the background check and the other part of me thinks it is an invasion of privacy. 


Rather than give away password they could just become a friend and therefore have access to what is posted. They do not need the password.

Verbatim (cont.)  

Common Sense: People need an avenue to vent. This violated the Bill of Rights on Free Speech. If this goes unbated next will it be your dinner conversations? If they all that interested, FB post can be view most times by logging on and searching. Big Brother is Listening. 


Information on Facebook is private information between the individual and their friends. Would you open your house, photo albums, journals and diaries to a potential employer? 


Not illegal, employment decisions based on supplying password or not would certainly lead to legal issues. 


Of course, being an intentional Neanderthal, I don't have a Facebook account. And, people who put dumb things about themselves on Facebook aren't too bright. But, employers have no right to interfere in employee's lives (although various legislation has unconstitutionally said they do). 


viewing and access are two different things - never give out passwords 


This is why I don't participate in social media 


I am not on facebook....... 


Suspicions about the amount of personal data that accumulates in the easily hacked accounts at Facebook led me to never join it. I am however tagged in pictures in more accounts than I care to think about. 


Besides being an invasion of privacy (this is still America!) an employer could open themselves up to learning all kinds of information they are not allowed to ask and could be used against them in a discrimination complaint or lawsuit. 


Big brother is watching. 


And for exactly that reason, I wouldn't HAVE a Facebook page. Looking at a prospect's Facebook page is a disguised way of finding out information an employer is not allowed to ask in an interview. If you can't make a hiring decision based on interviews, credit checks, background checks and reference checks, you shouldn't be hiring anyone. If you make a bad hiring decision, deal with it and either train or fire your employee. What would people learn about you by reading the notes in your HS or College yearbook? Did those things make you a bad employee? Anyone who is that afraid of making a bad decision shouldn't be in the business of making decisions! (Not that I have an opinion on the issue.) 


this is the start of a slippery slope I think. Why not ask a candidate for their password to a bank account next? 


I don't have a facebook account. 


Actually they can ask me all they want - I don't have one. Have never been on Facebook and don't intend to ever go there no matter how many times I'm invited. But for those that do, employers have no business accessing this personal choice of an employee outside of work. Employers can and should deny access to use Facebook at work but they don't need to monitor it. 


An employer asking for a facebook password is already illegal in many jurisdictions under statutes covering much wider rights to privacy. I hve nothing to hide, but under no circumstances whatsoever will i ever willingly give into a violation of my privacy or my personal rights. 


Seriously, is this what the world is coming to?

Verbatim (cont.)  

My employer wants us to friend it on facebook. There is no way I want my employer in my personal life. Giving up privacy for the sake of national security is one thing. However, an employer stalking its employees and monitoring their personal lives 24/7 is not appropriate. 


If this is not a job related question, the interviewer should not be asking this question. This is an invasion of a person's private life. 


I do have freedom of speech and this is a protected right.....If they have a page I may like them and they can view my page and if there is an issue we can discuss it. 


I would ask for the interviewers face book login information at the same time to see if they are a type of person I would want to work for/with and if they were a fair employer to work for (i.e. same treatment and expectations for all levels of employees.) 


Facebook is personal they will want my AOL password and my grandmothers letters! 


Not only no, hell no, and I would run, not walk, in the other direction. I can only imagine how they treat their employee's privacy, if they are willing to ask that of applicants. 


This is yet one more reason to avoid the social media pages altogether. I don't have a Facebook page and this is one more reason not to get one. 


passwords should be private. You would not give them your email or bank password. Where would it end? 


It's not illegal to ask - plead the 5th 


I'd give my Facebook password to anyone, because there's nothing on there. I don't have time for it. And frankly, if you're dumb enough to put incriminating information out there for the whole world to see, then you deserve the backlash that comes with it. 


I don't even give my husband my Facebook password, I'm certainly not going to give it to my employer. It's invasion of privacy. If I'm stupid enough to leave my Facebook page open to everybody, then they can see what's on there. Other than that too bad. 


Unless they're concerned about illegal activity, what we do in our "off" hours is nobody's business but our own. If a potential employer wants that kind of research, they better get a warrant for it. 


Facebook and other social media are personal and not business related. I wouldn't give a potential employer the keys to my house or hand them my family photo albums, so why would I give them access to my personal life on Facebook? It's not only an invasion of my privacy but immediately becomes an invasion of privacy for all my friends and family too. 


What if I did not have a facebook page, but my husband did. Would they want his login/password information? Who would work for such an employer?

Verbatim (cont.)  

I'm 61 and I have no Facebook page. (I can see the younger crowd's eyes rolling). When I was younger I can only imagine what I would have posted. What you might post at 18 is far different that what you would post 10,20,30 years later. To answer the question I WOULD NOT give a potential employer my login information. As an HR Manager I realize people mature and their positions and ideals change as time goes on, I would not ask a potential employee for their login. Let's ask the right questions concerning the job and the qualifications. Let's do it right the old fashioned way, Interviewing 101. 


People are foolish to post so much personal information on social websites, but employers have no right to require access to so much personal information. 


Providing one's personal password to a potential employer is an unwarranted intrusion of privacy.While I don't have a Facebook account and don't plan to get one, I wouild no sooner give a potential emplolyer the password to my account than I would turn over copies of my bank account or 401k account. It is none of their business what I do in my private time. The only possible exception might be governmental jobs requiring top level security clearance. 


I don't have anything to hide but I don't think it is any of their business. 


I don't think I'd want to work at a company that insisted I give them that information. I would probably give them a fake password and tell them to please ignore all of the hardcore pornography and photos of illicit drug use. 


While I don't think asking for a Facebook login should be illegal, it is certainly unethical. Unless it is an issue of national security, I think employees have a right to Privacy. 


I call Facebook an online diary that the owner determine's who can view its content. So if the owner wants to share it with the potential employer, so be it. But I would also make clear that the password is going to be changed in one day to make it clear they have a limited time to view it. This begs the question, how do they get similar information for an individual who does not have facebook? 


I cannot fathom how employers think this is legal with the amount of information that is on Facebook! You might as well ask in the interview what their religion is, if they are married, plan to have kids, etc. It's completely wrong! It's because of employers like this that we have so many regulations and laws anyway. Some idiots ruin it for everyone, making us pay for their stupidity by having to comply with new regulations. 


too many privacy issues 


Just another example og big brother-ism reaching its long arms when the arms should stay in the pocket. 


Would you be okay with sharing your personal e-mail login information? That's just as personal yet most people, I think, would regard that as entirely unacceptable. People set privacy restrictions on their Facebook accounts for a reason. I can't imagine a greater opportunity to take things out of context than the unrestricted reading of a stranger's Facebook page. A stranger who you're most likely looking at with a very critical eye. 


I find it interesting that in this age of cyber security, a potential employer would hire someone who willingly gives up a password. A potential employer would find nothing of interest on my page - actually I find nothing of interest on Facebook. If I was asked for my password, it may be a struggle to remember it as I haven't logged into Facebook since May! 


Umm, isn't facebook like for old people now, like eewww. I mean, really, that's like the most exactly gross thing. 


I don't believe any employer should have access to passwords for anything other than work systems. I can just imagine a lawsuit where a business is sued for making changes to a job applicant's Facebook postings. 


What I do in my private life is my business.

Verbatim (cont.)  

It's akin to asking if you're married or how old you are or if you plan to have children. Which they do in some companies anyway and get away with it. 


I don't have a facebook account. If I want to look at something I get my son to log in for me. I do not want to share my private life with the world or any possibly deranged employees. 


I fail to see why a potential employer or an employer for that matter would need access to such information. For what purpose would such access serve? 


Unless the firm has something to do with the safety and security of the public anything someone has to say or show on Facebook is no one's business but those that the individual has chosen to "friend". It is easy to misinterpret, or misjudge an individual based simply on short posts or photos. Unless it is later discovered that an individual's personal life is affecting their job performace the two should remain as separate as possible (this from someone who is "friends" with virtually all their co-workers including manager and director, LOL. BUT this is by choice). 


If I am asked for any login information at a job interview I would decline and end the interview. I don't need to work for a company like that. 


asking for your personal password to anything is inappropriate 


Asking for a facebook password is akin to asking for access to my personal e-mail account, or asking to search my home and sift through my cabnets and drawers, or perhaps asking to flip though a persons purse or wallet as a condition of being considered for employment. Its a coercive and intimidating request for individuals that need the job, difficult to say no to........... given that situation the request itself should not be permitted baring some very compelling circumstances 


Never say never. But if an employer asked for my facebook password, and I really wanted/needed the job, I think I'd set up a fake account and direct them there. In fact, I may go set that up right now.