“In probably 99% of such cases… my answer would be ‘No, I will not share my password’… That said, my response… was from the perspective of the business owner.” (Edmond par. 3-4).
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Not very recently, perhaps just a few years ago, there came to existence a certain peculiar practice utilized by some employees. The crux of the practice was simple; the bosses asked their potential employees (and, likely, sometimes the current ones as well) passwords from their social networks account.
Although shocking and outraging to many at the beginning, this practice has become not so peculiar, but rather common now; some public people, such as A. Edmond Jr., even discussed it in public and argued for it. It is our opinion, though, that such a practice should not be allowed.
A Useful Point
A very notable and definitely useful point that Edmond makes in his article is that social media should not be treated as private space. It is clear that any information shared via social networks automatically becomes public. Even if one uses the privacy settings and marks a post as “for friends only,” it is necessary to understand that “Facebook friends” and “friends” are definitely not the same thing.
The Privacy of Social Media
Still, it is our opinion that employers should not ask people passwords to their accounts. Even though Edmond dismisses the dichotomy “business vs. personal” in favor of “public vs. private” (par. 8), and that is, arguably, a more effective way to think about it, it still does not cancel the fact that many people will use social networks as means of communication about (more or less) private matters anyway, and that companies ask people’s passwords to social media exactly because people use them as such means.
Indeed, if everyone became reasonably paranoid, if it is possible to say so, and stop communicating any not completely public information via social media (and then via the telephone, via the Skype, in public places…); if utter and complete publicity without borders was what the social media openly were for, there would be no harm at all in giving an employer one’s password, and, therefore, no harm in their asking for it. But it is a fact that social media still exist (presumably) for communicating with friends.
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And one should indeed be paranoid throughout their entire life to keep all the information they might be possibly embarrassed about a few years later away from social networks.
Edmond himself admits to the fact that his opinion is “from the perspective of the business owner” and not a private person and that he would, in 99% of cases, not give up his social network password (par. 3, 4).
But it should not be forgotten that an employer is in a privileged position relative to an employee. In fact, the right to ask for passwords allows employers to easily pry, for instance, into the lives of people who do not have many work prospects, such as the youth. And, in fact, there is no guarantee that a boss, after gaining a password of an employee, will not use the gathered information to gain even further unfair advantage.
(Speaking of which, despite the name of the article, Edmond never argued that asking for a password was fair.)
So, summing up, it is our opinion that asking for passwords, during job interviews, or from people who work for you, should not be allowed. Indeed, there is much reason in not using one’s social media account to spread one’s deeply personal information in the world; but there is also reason in not allowing employers to search through their employee’s personal computers or demanding their family’s photograph albums.
Edmond, Alfred Jr. Why Asking for a Job Applicant’s Facebook Password Is Fair Game. 2012. Web.
Pariser, Eli. The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You. London, UK: Penguin. Google Books. Web.