Should Facebook be used for background checks?

losing a job over a Facebook status, or no longer being considered for a position after an employer viewed their profile. When Facebook first became popular it was considered more of a social tool between friends, and many didn’t think of the ramifications of putting certain things online – where it becomes so visible. It has now become a place which will dictate your online personality, and your profile will become a personal brand that defines you on the internet whether you want it to or not. Due to this, a lot of employers – particularly in the public service industries – are placing conditions on employment, such as the right to delve into their employees social profiles. A recent story in the news notes how the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is championing the case of a Maryland corrections officer, Robert Collins, who does not believe his employer should have the right to scour his personal Facebook account as a condition of employment. According the ACLU, the Maryland corrections division has a “blanket requirement” that job applicants, as well as current employees undergoing re-certification, provide the government with their social media account usernames and personal passwords for use in background checks. The ACLU calls the policy “a gross breach of privacy” and a violation of state and federal law “which protect privacy rights and extend protections to electronic communications.” As of late last week, the advocacy group had received no response from the state. Should Facebook be a part of employment background screening, or is that taking a step too far into an employees private life?]]>

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