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Government agencies and colleges are asking students to log onto their Facebook pages and other social networks during interviews

Many use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter as electronic diaries of sorts, but they might want to think twice about what they post -- colleges and the government are watching.

Some government job seekers and student-athletes have complained that the government agency or college in which they're applying has asked for access to their Facebook pages among other social networking sites.

Last year, current employees and applicants to the Maryland Department of Corrections were asked to surrender their emails and passwords in order for employers to access their Facebook pages. This resulted in a complaint from corrections officer Robert Collins, who went to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). The ACLU argued that this was an invasion of privacy. The Department of Corrections has since stopped this practice, but found a loophole -- they just ask the applicant to log onto their Facebook accounts right in front of them, giving employers the freedom to browse photos, comments and Walls right in front of the applicant.

"My fellow officers and I should not have to allow the government to view our personal Facebook posts and those of our friends just to keep our jobs," said Collins.

The Maryland Department of Corrections defended its practices by saying this type of screen was necessary in order to weed out the bad eggs. For instance, the agency reviewed 2,689 applicants for guard positions and ended up disregarding seven of them due to inappropriate Facebook pictures. According to the agency, the guard applicants were holding up gang symbols using their hands in the pictures.

The Maryland Department of Corrections isn't the only establishment searching social networks for clues as to who they're accepting. The University of North Carolina recently revised its handbook to make it so student-athletes must add a coach or administrator to their friends list on their social networks.

"Each team must identify with at least one coach or administrator who is responsible for having access to and regularly monitoring the content of team members' social networking sites and postings," said the handbook revision. "The athletics department also reserves the right to have other staff members monitor athletes' posts."

Bradley Shear, a lawyer from Washington D.C., said that these rules violate the First Amendment, and could also prove to be a liability for schools when watching students' posts.

"I can't believe some people think it's OK to do this," said Shear. "Maybe it's OK if you live in a totalitarian regime, but we still have a Constitution to protect us. It's not a far leap from reading people's Facebook posts to reading their email...As a society, where are we going to draw the line? What if the University of Virginia had been monitoring accounts in the Yeardley Love case and missed signals that something was going to happen? What about the liability the school might have?"

Social networking site Facebook is notorious for compromising user privacy. For instance, Facebook made changes to its privacy settings back in 2009 without telling users, and also introduced invasive features like facial recognition for tagging photos. While Facebook has been working on increasing the transparency of its privacy controls and making them easier to use, ACLU is outraged that other entities are stepping in to strip that privacy away once again. In fact, ACLU argued that social media monitoring is against Facebook's privacy policy, saying "You will not share your password...let anyone else access your account or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account."

"This is an invasion of privacy," said Melissa Goemann, the Maryland ACLU legislative director. "People have so much personal information on their pages now. A person can treat it almost like a diary. And [interviewers and schools] are also invading other people's privacy. They get access to that individual's posts and all their friends. There is a lot of private information there.”

Source: MSNBC

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Repeat after me:
By DPigs on 3/7/2012 7:58:34 PM , Rating: 5
"I do not have a facebook account"

Problem solved.

RE: Repeat after me:
By phatboye on 3/7/2012 8:47:33 PM , Rating: 5
"You obviously are a liar because everyone has a Facebook account or you are socially awkward. Either way we don't want to hire you. Thank you for your time".

RE: Repeat after me:
By Rob94hawk on 3/7/2012 10:00:51 PM , Rating: 5
You'd be surprised how many people don't have facebook accounts. Some people just don't succumb to peer pressure as much as the rest of the sheep do. ;)

RE: Repeat after me:
By ipay on 3/7/2012 10:29:54 PM , Rating: 5
How many people don't have facebook...?
Maybe only 6.3 billion people, give or take (discount for bogus/n-plicate/pet accounts).

Facebookers are a minority, so don't make fun of them. They already have too much issues on their hands.

RE: Repeat after me:
By shanomacadaemia on 3/8/2012 8:32:06 AM , Rating: 1
And that's exactly why they won't hire you. The kind of people who say things like "sheeple" are quite common amongst the ranks of people who don't have facebook accounts (at least in much of the western world and the US).

And they'd be right not to, to a degree. Such people are keen to separate themselves from their peers ideologically, if only to prove that they're smarter than everybody else for not conforming to the same standards. Government and corporate employers want everyone to be on the same team, so to speak, and wouldn't be terribly interested in hiring people who may cause them trouble down the line.

Otherwise, these people could be judged to be a) technologically out-of-touch, or b) socially awkward/inept. Neither of these would be regarded as positive traits.

It's sad but these are the times we live in.

RE: Repeat after me:
By polishvendetta on 3/8/2012 9:28:04 AM , Rating: 2
It still blows my mind that people think they can have private information on the internet.

On another note, I have no issues with those 2 job positions having their facebook monitored. A correctional facillity has enough gang issues, they dont need the guards to have gang issues too. As for a college sports team, most teams have rules that say you represent the team on and off the field. A college wants to protect its image, and thats understandable.

RE: Repeat after me:
By tng on 3/8/2012 9:56:06 AM , Rating: 2
Otherwise, these people could be judged to be a) technologically out-of-touch, or b) socially awkward/inept. Neither of these would be regarded as positive traits.

Yeah right. If you are judged like that just for not having a FB account then you can be judged for the type of car you drive, clothes you wear, food you eat, where you live...

It is myopic to think that you should be judged on anything other than your qualifications for the job. I myself look at allot of people that think like yourself and know that you are the socially awkward ones. Dealing with real people face to face is a learned skill, one that FB lets people avoid in many cases.

RE: Repeat after me:
By HoosierEngineer5 on 3/8/2012 2:07:48 PM , Rating: 2
Spend much time on Facebook, do you?

RE: Repeat after me:
By Gondor on 3/8/2012 4:29:02 PM , Rating: 2
Precisely. I don't have a FB/G+/Twtter/younameit account so I don;t mind some tutor following "it" (nothing). Would that disqualify me from their program (if I were to enroll - nevermind the fact that I'm too old for this crap) ?

RE: Repeat after me:
By ShaolinSoccer on 3/7/2012 10:16:47 PM , Rating: 5
You obviously are a liar because everyone has a Facebook account or you are socially awkward.

I would sue any company for not hiring me just because I didn't have a Facebook account and I would win.

RE: Repeat after me:
By TSS on 3/8/2012 9:16:14 AM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't, i'm staying well clear of that company and i'll advise the next company who doesn't ask me such silly questions to stay away from the previous company, due to questionable practices.

I'm certainly not going to work for a company i have to sue to get in.

And yes, i don't have a facebook account.

RE: Repeat after me:
By Solandri on 3/8/2012 1:50:42 PM , Rating: 2
Just because you win an employment discrimination lawsuit against someone does not mean you have to work for them. The point of the lawsuit is punitive (to punish the offender for wrongful behavior), not compensatory (to make whole damages you suffered due to the wrongful behavior).

RE: Repeat after me:
By Samus on 3/8/2012 1:31:06 AM , Rating: 2
Man this would put me in a tough place during an interview. I haven't had an active facebook account for five years, and if I logged in now, all they'd see are a bunch of Parking Wars points...

Thank God I'm self-employed. Corporate BS is ever achieving new heights.

RE: Repeat after me:
By dark matter on 3/8/2012 7:07:53 AM , Rating: 2
It isn't mandatory to have facebook. You do realise that.

RE: Repeat after me:
By GotThumbs on 3/8/2012 11:41:47 AM , Rating: 2
I don't have a FB account either. Never will.

And the use of name calling/bashing only displays your lack of maturity.

RE: Repeat after me:
By JediJeb on 3/8/2012 1:16:20 PM , Rating: 2
"You obviously are a liar because everyone has a Facebook account or you are socially awkward. Either way we don't want to hire you. Thank you for your time".

I laughed so hard at this. I doubt even half the people I know have a Facebook account, and of the ones that do, at least half of those never use it.

I don't have Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other such type of account. I have a Gmail account but honestly with all the changes going on there I may close it soon. People who think they need Facebook because they are too busy to call, write, or actually go VISIT the people important to them are the ones who should "get a life" not the ones who do not use Facebook.

RE: Repeat after me:
By Omega215D on 3/7/2012 11:39:28 PM , Rating: 2
Heh, they couldn't find my facebook because I don't have my full name as a handle.

Besides, if and when they do find it, it's not like I'm dumb enough to post idiotic crap on my account and I've lived pretty much on the straight and narrow.

SDPD recruit, NYC Forensics Lab.

RE: Repeat after me:
By Kurz on 3/8/2012 10:07:08 AM , Rating: 2
Heh I have a Facebook, I'll just change it to my Nickname.
Boom instantly sloved.

I don't have a Facebook sir. ;)

RE: Repeat after me:
By km9v on 3/8/2012 12:27:30 PM , Rating: 2
They can find you. They eventually find you.

RE: Repeat after me:
By MrBlastman on 3/8/2012 9:52:26 AM , Rating: 2
Sure, you can tell them that, but you better mean it. If you DO have a Facebook account and you lie and say you don't, that is grounds for IMMEDIATE termination should they find out you in fact have one.

The only true way around this obstacle is to truly not use Facebook at all--and that isn't hard to do, really. Who the heck wants to put their whole life online, anyways? I'd rather have my privacy. Using Facebook is asking for trouble.

RE: Repeat after me:
By modus2 on 3/8/2012 3:19:49 PM , Rating: 2
I kind of doubt that lying about something that is totally unrelated to your work is grounds for dismissal. What if you are a member of some club in your spare time, say maybe stamp collecting. Does not make much sense to lie about that but still hardly reason for termination. Now if its a swinger club on the other hand...

RE: Repeat after me:
By Ramtech on 3/8/2012 10:22:11 AM , Rating: 2
Even if you don't have Facebook account and never made one.
Facebook creates shadow account so you do have Facebook account.

Problem is that whenever you uploaded or submitted personal info on Internet its still there and there is no way how to remove it from Internet

RE: Repeat after me:
By Solandri on 3/8/2012 2:00:26 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, I have multiple pending Facebook friend requests (wish there was a way to stop FB from spamming me with them without verifying to FB that I exist). While I don't have a personal FB account, FB now knows my email address, knows that the people sending me those requests are my friends or relatives, and suspects their friends are probably my friends too.

Add to that the tracking they do (every time you visit a web page with the F icon, Facebook knows your computer was used to visit that site). If I were then to somehow allow FB to link my email address to my computer (e.g. visit to tell them stop spamming me with these friend requests), they can put together the two pieces. Then they would know my email, my friends, and my web browsing habits. All without me having a FB account.

RE: Repeat after me:
By tng on 3/9/2012 7:54:25 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I have multiple pending Facebook friend requests (wish there was a way to stop FB from spamming me with them without verifying to FB that I exist).
Same here. In one case she didn't know that FB had sent the request, so I guess FB just takes your collected email addresses and spams them? That is just creepy IMO.

RE: Repeat after me:
By Dean364 on 3/8/2012 10:31:39 AM , Rating: 2
This just reaffirms why I will never have a Facebook account.

No way!
By gevorg on 3/7/2012 6:53:31 PM , Rating: 4
Makes sense for high clearance government jobs, but for DMV monkeys and college? GTFO, this is one step towards totalitarian regime.

Just another reason not to have Facebook, I guess.

RE: No way!
By Orac4prez on 3/7/2012 8:02:02 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah. Tell them you aren't on Facebook or anything similar (eg MySpace/Google Plus, etc) and you get treated like a liar.

In Australia, employers seem to completely ignore any rights and demand access to all email accounts, news sites and screen names/passwords (and former accounts). If you dont, you dont have a job. I now post most comments at internet cafes with one of many aliases. The number of times the so called "free accounts" like hotmail get hacked, anything could be posted under you name.

RE: No way!
By ebakke on 3/8/2012 1:36:54 AM , Rating: 4
It'd be a cold day in hell before I gave a prospective employer a password to anything of mine. And if I couldn't find a job with that criteria, I'd move.

RE: No way!
By dark matter on 3/8/2012 7:13:45 AM , Rating: 2
Stand up for yourselves then. If you all bend over, you're going to get shafted.

If everyone said "fuck you", who they going to get in. They'll soon back down if you all stood your ground.

RE: No way!
By TSS on 3/8/2012 9:22:52 AM , Rating: 2
Yknow why they do that? Because nobody has the balls anymore to "just say no".

Because people don't want to lose. their house, their fancy car, their dinner this evening. So they'll take abuse so they can get what they want.

I'll bet when that whole mess started only a few people had to say no for it to go away. Now a whole lot have to say it before it goes away, but it can easily go away again.

I'm not going to work for anybody that demands such things. If that means i'm not going to work at all, i'm not going to work at all. I'd rather sit home and be miserable then have my privacy invaded by somebody who will profit off my work to begin with!

If they'd ask me to run the entire company then i'd understand. But i'm still not giving away passwords. I'll log in for them, once, so they can see if there's any wrong doing. Once they are satisfied that i'm legit, they are never getting in again. As for ye ol regular workin bees, nobody should give a damn.

RE: No way!
By Omega215D on 3/7/2012 11:41:46 PM , Rating: 3
To be honest I haven't logged into Facebook for almost a year now. Before that I used to just catch up with old classmates or friends but they've become flakes so I stopped dealing with them.

The part time race team I'm on would like me to use Twitter... to make their sponsors happy... then again my last race was mid last year.

The Next Big Industry
By Radiomachine on 3/8/2012 12:41:34 AM , Rating: 3
In the next 10-20 years will be the identity *reboot* industry if it can be monetized. There will be a whole ocean of people in their mid 20's to late 30's seeking to change their names/identities to escape the stupidity of their FB past when they leave the fantasy world of social media and actually need to get a job, apply for a loan, or have kids of their own. The problem with these knucklehead generation Y peeps is that they don't understand or simply don't care about the permanence of the internet and how what they've posted can and will come back to haunt decades later. Your social media past will become as much a "character meter" (rightly or wrongly) as your FICO score. Those who saw this coming and managed to stay off the social media grid (or least minimize their presence on it) will enjoy an anonymity that others will be willing to pay for in the future. If you don't think that landlords, employers, loan underwriters, college admissions, and credit issuers aren't going to be considering your social media footprint in evaluating you, you're kidding yourself.

RE: The Next Big Industry
By JediJeb on 3/8/2012 1:24:50 PM , Rating: 2
For those who never get into the social media scene, they should not worry about not getting a job because of it. Think about it, these are the people that the CIA would love to hire. Can you imagine going for a interview with a place like the CIA and having lived your entire life on Facebook, they would never take a second look at you there. Being a holdout like me may pay off some day :)

By HoosierEngineer5 on 3/8/2012 2:10:21 PM , Rating: 2
Facebook is probably more permanent than a tattoo.

I agree and I disagree
By dark matter on 3/8/2012 7:11:57 AM , Rating: 2
Why I agree.

You seriously don't want drugged up idiots, people who complain and ultra negative, or just plain weirdos in your establishment. I can understand that.

Why I disagree.

What you do outside of your working/educational time is fuck all to do with them so long as you perform at least satisfactorily.

So basically I can see why they want to do it, but just because they want to, doesn't give them the right to.

It's almost like them asking for the keys to your house and asking you if you don't mind them reading your mail and looking through all your stuff. And if you don't, you don't get the job.

RE: I agree and I disagree
By geddarkstorm on 3/8/2012 1:18:58 PM , Rating: 2
It's called privacy and personal property. Facebook and social accounts are one's "personal property" as far as I see.

Should the government, college, or employer ask for the keys to your house so they can rummage through your belongings? Ask yourself that.

(Note, I don't use facebook, google+. But I can recognize insanity when I see it)

RE: I agree and I disagree
By geddarkstorm on 3/8/2012 1:20:57 PM , Rating: 2
Haha, I actually didn't read your last paragraph and ended up making the same analogy. Hopefully we'll get people thinking; because if there's one thing folks lack these days, it's that.

By lhunt37 on 3/8/2012 9:09:58 AM , Rating: 2
I don't think so because that would be discrimination if you did not get hired for a job because of your facebook account.

For those who don't know...
By Beenthere on 3/8/2012 11:46:44 AM , Rating: 2
There are no laws against discrimination based on social media. An employer can refuse to hire a person for any reason other than that protected under law. If you don't want to provide your password and acct. name that's perfectly fine. Apply elsewhere for a job.

Is this against the FB TOS?
By SpinCircle on 3/8/2012 5:26:44 PM , Rating: 2
Isn't giving out your password or allowing someone who isn't you to access your FB account against the FB TOS? I'm not sure, but a lot of sites have some sort of wording like that in their TOS...

Surrender Information
By pjs on 3/10/2012 10:15:16 AM , Rating: 2
You can't reserve a right you don't have.

Oops there goes my job...
By Beenthere on 3/7/2012 8:13:49 PM , Rating: 1
Maybe people will wake up and realize how foolish all of this social media really is?

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