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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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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.

"My sex life is pretty good" -- Steve Jobs' random musings during the 2010 D8 conference

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