When is Facebook’s IPO?
There’s a news story that’s made the rounds in several media outlets. It’s about employers that demand a job applicant’s Facebook login and password, so they can check the person’s online bona fides. The Chicago Tribune reports there’s already legislation under way to stop the practice.
The articles ruminate on the whys, the wherefores, and on the proper response. But the proper response is easy: Up yours! This blog has already asked the question about Presumptuous Employers: Is this HR, or Proctology?
Everybody does it
But the problem isn’t just with employers. I found one version of this Facebook story on USA Today: Job seekers getting asked for Facebook passwords. It was the best of the articles I’d read on the subject, so I wrote a comment and tried to post it.
Imagine my ire when USA Today demanded my Facebook credentials in order to post the comment. Say what?? I clicked out of the comments box. Up yours, USA Today. F you and the Facebook you rode in on.
If I want to go to Facebook, I’ll go to Facebook. But when I want news, I expect my experience will be with USA Today, or whatever news outlet I choose to visit. There is no more reason for me to transfer my Facebook bona fides to another website than there is to disclose my salary history to some personnel jockey. “That’s the policy” isn’t a good enough reason. (If you wonder how to avoid turning over your salary history to an employer, see Keep Your Salary Under Wraps.)
So, Up the yin-yang of media outlets that are selling me out to Mark Zuckerberg’s database. They won’t get my comments — and I’m not so likely to bother with them next time I want news and discussion.
Did you give permission?
Of course, whether we’re talking about employers, USA Today, or any other partner to Facebook — the problem is suckers who play along. The problem is what you choose to share on Facebook. Because if you think it’s a problem when employers demand your social media credentials, you’re not thinking ahead. Did you already give permission for your credentials to be sold to them?
Monster.com and other big job boards rent, sell, and trade your resume information to parties you know nothing about.
LinkedIn is is now selling access to its database to employers who pay for access to people’s credentials.
Google just got sued again in federal court for misusing your personal information.
How much do you wanna bet that Facebook — especially once it does its IPO — doesn’t start pimping your “timeline” to employers who are willing to fork over the bucks? It’s gonna happen. Employers won’t need to embarrass you by asking for it in a job interview. They’ll already have it. It’s all part of “improving your social experience.” It’s all part of shareholder value. It’s all part of turning yet another database of personal information into a “career service.”
You won’t find Facebook managing the comments section of this blog. Not now, not ever. You won’t find me cueing up my Facebook bona fides when I want to post a comment on USA Today. As Mark Zuckerberg starts pimping out his members’ timelines, you’ll also probably find me canceling my Facebook account.
UPDATE March 23, 2012
Facebook has issued a statement: Facebook warns employers not to solicit passwords, calls it an ‘alarming’ practice. Gimme a break. That’s like bars and liquor distillers issuing statements that they are “alarmed” by drinking. My prediction stands: After the IPO, Facebook will sell employers access to your personal data. “A powerful new social feature to help you land that job!”