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Govt. agencies, colleges demand applicants’ Facebook passwords

Written on:March 7, 2012
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Privacy settings on your Facebook and Twitter accounts won’t guarantee future employers or schools can’t see your private posts.

Job seekers applying to Maryland’s Division of Corrections have been asked during interviews to “log into their accounts and let an interviewer watch while the potential employee clicks through wall posts, friends, photos and anything else that might be found behind the privacy wall,” says a report today by Bob Sullivan at MSNBC

Previously, applicants were asked to surrender their user name and password, but a complaint from the ACLU stopped that practice last year. While submitting to a Facebook review is voluntary, virtually all applicants agree to it out of a desire to score well in the interview, according Maryland ACLU legislative director Melissa Coretz Goemann.

Similarly, student athletes are sometimes required to allow coaches to look at their social media accounts. The athletes have been required to friend a coach on Facebook and allow the coach the same access to information as the athlete allows to his or her friends.

Schools are also turning to social media monitoring companies with names like UDilligence and Varsity Monitor for software packages that automate the task.

“Each team must identify 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,” it reads. “The athletics department also reserves the right to have other staff members monitor athletes’ posts.”

A Washington D.C.-lawyer told to MSNBC that both schools and employers are violating the First Amendment with demands for access to otherwise private social media content.

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