Published on March 6th, 2012 | by Steven Hodson0
Colleges, Government Agencies Require Job Hunters To Hand Over Facebook Passwords
If you thought that all those crazy things you posted to Facebook couldn’t come back to haunt you because you had set them to private or limited to close friends only, think again, because if you are looking to be accepted by a college or get that government job they may not stay private very long.
There is a very disturbing, and growing, trend of colleges and government agencies requiring you to hand over your Facebook passwords if you want to even think of being accepted or being hired.
It seems that companies and colleges have realized that there is a vast treasure trove of information about you hiding out there in Facebook land, information that doesn’t show up on resumes and applications but is indicative of who you really are.
When it comes to colleges, and especially for students going after athletic scholarships, a growing number are requiring that you ‘friend’ a coach or a “compliance officer” and thereby giving them access to the student’s ‘friends-only’ posts. The University of North Carolina has even go to the point of laying it out in their handbook where they say that each school team must appoint one coach or administrator whose job it is to monitor the team member’s social networking sites and postings.
Of course this isn’t sitting to well with some. One of those people is a Washington D.C. lawyer, Bradley Shear, who is stunned at the flagrant abuse of the First Amendment
“I can’t believe some people think it’s OK to do this,” he said. “Maybe it’s OK if you live in a totalitarian regime, but we still have a Constitution to protect us. It’s not a far leap from reading people’s Facebook posts to reading their email. … As a society, where are we going to draw the line?”
Aside from the free speech concerns, Shear also thinks colleges take on unnecessary liability when they aggressively monitor student posts.
“What if the University of Virginia had been monitoring accounts in the Yeardley Love case and missed signals that something was going to happen?” he said, referring to a notorious campus murder. “What about the liability the school might have?”
And it’s not like there is any wiggle room here. For students – especially athletes – no access, no sports.