Interviewers asking for Facebook passwords

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - In a job interview you expect to hand over a resume and references.

But what about your Facebook password?

Some job applicants say it is happening.

Robert Jackson has four computer screens on his desk at all times at his Kansas City company -- Internet Builder Consulting.

The business builds websites and does social media marketing.

He uses Facebook to screen job applicants.

"When I get a resume, no matter what, the first thing I do is go look them up on Facebook, Twitter, do a search for them online. And we've not hired people simply because of what we've found on their Facebook accounts," said Jackson.

But Jackson said he draws the line at asking for an applicant's passwords.

"...because I don't think it's appropriate for a business to get that personal with someone. It's like asking to have the keys to their home and take a look around your dresser drawers."

Illinois and Maryland are considering laws to protect privacy after Robert Collins, a Maryland corrections officer, was asked for his Facebook password before being reinstated after a leave.

He was shocked, but gave it up.

Doug Bonney, legal director at the ACLU of Kansas and western Missouri, said, "There's a federal law called the 'Stored Communications Act' which it almost certainly violates."

Bonney said asking for passwords are coercion, because most employees would feel forced to comply to get or keep a job.

Giving up your password allows interviewers to access private messages and get around your privacy settings.

"There's a big difference between looking at your Facebook site that's open the world, and looking at a Facebook site that you've set all of your privacy settings at maximum," explained Bonney.

Many companies want workers to have a business Facebook page to promote their products.

Jackson does, but he also keeps a separate, more private personal page.

Some employers don't ask for your password. But during the interview, they will ask you to log on, so they can look through your page.

The ACLU objects to that as well, and also says giving up your password to anything is another step towards identity theft.

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