So, in the social media news of the day, we find the following story:
(The remainder of the article is at the link, above.) My subject question is largely rhetorical, obviously, they *can* ask you that. However, is it legal that they do so? That will be a matter for someone willing to file a court challenge to it and the lawyers, judges and possibly juries who hear the case, when it does eventually get filed, which I am fairly certain that it will.
For the record, Facebook, and pretty much every single social media site out there includes in their Terms of Service (those pesky things most people don’t bother reading before clicking the “I accept” link, that indicates that you should not, under any circumstances, comply with such a request:
Facebook’s Terms of Service, Section 4, paragraph 8: “You will not share your password, (or in the case of developers, your secret key), let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account.”
That’s pretty clear to me, and as for allowing any prospective employer to see who my friends are on a social media site (or anywhere else, for that matter), I have a loud, resounding “Fuck, no.” I don’t consider it anyone else’s business who I have granted access to my posts (even if 99% of my Facebook posts are public to begin with – largely because they mostly are links to other things posted publicly on the internet.) I don’t even like allowing the very few apps I’ve authorized for Facebook to have the access they want – I see no reason why any app should need to see my information “even when not using the site”, and again, they should not need any information about my friends/associates. But that’s a slightly different rant.
Having had my personal life thoroughly investigated in the past (I formerly held a security clearance of high degree, and that’s about as specific as I’ll get on the matter publicly), I understand the desire of employers to access that type of information, but again, what I post on line is none of their business, unless I happen to be talking about them specifically, in which case it is likely going to be one of those public posts, such as this, which will eventually make its way towards my Facebook. You may have noticed at no point have I mentioned the name of any such company engaging in said activity – that’s deliberate. It’s also pretty much the way I like to conduct my life.