Facebook Responds to AP Story About Employers Demanding Passwords from Job Seekers

Early this morning, Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer, Policy Erin Egan, posted a lengthy note on the company blog responding to the much talked about Associated Press story on employers demanding the Facebook passwords of job seekers applying to their company. It reads in part:

If you are a Facebook user, you should never have to share your password, let anyone access your account, or do anything that might jeopardize the security of your account or violate the privacy of your friends.  We have worked really hard at Facebook to give you the tools to control who sees your information.

As a user, you shouldn’t be forced to share your private information and communications just to get a job.  And as the friend of a user, you shouldn’t have to worry that your private information or communications will be revealed to someone you don’t know and didn’t intend to share with just because that user is looking for a job.  That’s why we’ve made it a violation of Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities to share or solicit a Facebook password.

We don’t think employers should be asking prospective employees to provide their passwords because we don’t think it’s right the thing to do.

Reaction to the plan has been supportive, but mixed. Facebook users commenting on Egan’s post almost unanimously applaud her sentiment, but don’t think a Statement of Rights and Responsibilities will do much to stop employers. We tend to agree. Publicly shaming employers who engage in this practice is the only way to end it. Or at least make sure it’s not used arbitrarily.