Why Asking For A Job Applicantâs Facebook Password Is Fair Game

Black Enterprise's Alfred Edmond Jr. weighs in on the controversial new practice:

“Should business owners be allowed to ask job applicants for their Facebook passwords?” Many people who watched me on MSNBC’s Your Business on Sunday were surprised to hear that my answer is “Yes,” including the show’s host, JJ Ramberg. (For those who missed it, the show reairs on Saturday, April 7, at 5:30 a.m.) This question became a hot news topic last week, especially in business and social media circles, when Congress failed to pass legislation that would have banned the practice of employers asking employees to reveal their Facebook passwords.

Now, if I was asked the same question as a guest on a show called Your Career, I would have been hard-pressed to think of a situation where I would share my Facebook password with a potential employer. For me to consider it, I would have to want the job pretty badly, with the amount and type of compensation (including benefits, perks and even an equity stake in the company) being major considerations. But before doing so, I would see if there were other ways I could address the potential employer’s concerns without revealing my password, such as changing my privacy settings to give them the ability to view all of my Facebook content. If they persist with their request for my password, I would try to negotiate terms to strictly limit both its use of the password and the length of time the potential employer would have access to it before I could change it. I might even consider getting an employment attorney to negotiate an agreement, include terms of confidentiality, to be signed by both me and the potential employer before sharing my password.

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