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Study: Facebook Profiles May Not Reveal What Employers Think They Do

It turns out the HR departments that check out profiles of prospective employees on social sites are usually looking for the wrong things. The people they appear to like are teh exact opposite of those they should employ. Not a big surprise, I think, to anyone save the people in those HR departments.

The article also refers to the amazing but true face that a law had to be enacted in California to ban empoyers from asking prospective employees for their Facebook passwords. I'm not making it up.


  • Interesting article on "Fakebook" yes that's what I call it. I think more and more laws need to be in place with regards to Facebook. I honestly believe that Facebook and many other similar social networking tools are being used in a very unethical form today. Having said that I am a Facebook user, but use it to keep in touch with my School friends whom without the power of such Social networking tools would be impossible.

    Facebook today has become another form of Mockery and showboating, fake relationships, fake friendships etc... I am not against facebook but there is no way an employer can base his/her decision on an individual based on his Social networking skills.

    I think workers should not permit their private conduct to interfere with their ability to fulfill their professional responsibility, I would treat that as unethical.

    More and more companies are now blocking the use of such Social networking sites in their organizations as they feel its a waste of company resources.

    Facebook also recently created a huge uproar amongst its users when they changed their Terms and Conditions (Just a snippet)

    "You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof."



    Sameer Pathan January 10, 2013 - 6:24pm

  • This is no surprise to me, people use Facebook for different reasons and this article just confirmed to me one of those several reasons. Facebook to me, I spent very little time on it because of the information you read about people, some people lie about their status, age, professions and host of other things. To me, employers may not get acurate information about their propective employees from this site. So, why bother about your prospective employee's password or account on social network. Don't get me wrong, Facebook is a fantastic idea and credits to Mark Zuckerberg and his team. People throw both ethical and morals values into dust bin whenever they are on social network. The suddeen and dramatic advent of social network into our lives seems to be causing some mid-digital-life crises.

    According to CNN survey that was done some time last year (May, 2012), one in every four users lie on Facebook. Read about it more on this site Where did morals about people go? People no longer care about what they put out there about themselves, it is sad that courtesy no longer matters to people.

    It is important to note also that some states in the US already ban employers from asking workers's Facebook password. California and Chicago are already doing this, read about this on this sites and I am just using this to confirm the statement about Facebook password request by prospective employers in the original article by the Professor.

    Overall, I think tougher legislations should be in place to protect employees' privacy. It is unethical for the employers to violate their prospective employees' privacy; to me there is no moral justifications for anyone to do this.



    Ibrahim Adewole January 11, 2013 - 9:52am

  • Facebook is one of the social communities that I don't often participate in.  Most of the time the information that is posted on there by many people are irrelevant what very much in line what I consider to be spam.  Not to say that all content that is posted.  There will be gems that are posted there.  But I really do believe that the purpose of using Facebook has been totally missed.  If someone wants to share every 10 minutes what they are doing in a day, then they should probably pick up the phone and call instead.

    I don't necessarily disagree that HR should be "investigating" potential employees is a bad thing.  I think that it is important that HR, as well as any employer, should be doing all that they can to find out information about potential employees.  To me, it is considered to be doing your due diligence.  There is a fine line with the information that is obtained however.

    The purpose of doing this research should be to determine if their activities would be interferring with their work.  Is their use of Facebook considered to be excessive?  Does it look like that they have been using Facebook (or any other social community web site) during regular business hours beyond their breaks?  Do they seem to be participating in activities that could impair their effectiveness at work?  Do they tend to share employer information that could be considered trade secrets?

    However, given that Facebook is a social site, an employee should not be scrutinized for what they want to share if it is personal information, regardless of the content.  Personally, if I am sharing that I party and drink every Friday and Saturday night, it shouldn't affect my employability or my effectiveness at work.  However, if I were doing that during other days, where I would have to come into work the next day, that could be a red flag to an employer that their productivity and reliability at work could come into question.

    I totally disagree with the point that employers can be asking their employees for passwords to social communities.  Sharing of passwords has always been one of the first things that you give out unless you totally trust the person who are sharing it with.  It is much like giving the key to my home to someone I barely know.  If it is expected that I share my Facebook password to a prospective employer so that they can look through and see what I personally do, would it be morally incorrect that I share my corporate password to another employer so that they can look at the quality of my work?  If I ended up working at said employer who asked me for my Facebook password then I personally wouldn't have any issues sharing my corporate password to another prospective employer to look at my corporate work.

    It is unfortunate that employers feel like they have the power to ask an employee for their passwords and that legislation is required to stop the misuse of this kind of power.  What an employee shares publically is all that they should really be able to use.  If the employer wanted to see more information, then they should link to that employer and allow the employee to then decide how much more private information that they wish to share.

    Michael Madan January 13, 2013 - 2:30pm

  • Interviewing, the traditional way to employ new people into an organization is not helping employers as people who might have done well during the interview cannot perform basic duties they were able to talk about during the interviewing, how then do employers expect social media like Facebook to tell them how an employee will perform on his job?

    Facebook is a place where people become what they are not. Recently, I had an experience that put me off Facebook although I don’t often go there. I had a friendship request from a name I wasn’t so sure but the profile picture is a friend whose full name is far different from the person that sent me the request. I called the friend to find out if she has changed her name and you can imagine her answer. How then can I use Facebook postings to judge somebody?

    Why do employers need Facebook to tell them if their employees will perform well at their duties? What is the use of “probation” if the employer cannot learn whatever he/she wants to learn about the employee? If employers think Facebook will help them to know more about their employees then why don’t they use their own means to get the information? Why do they need the employer’s password?

    Has anyone heard the situation where an employee has refused to give his/her password but has still be employed or be denied employment because of the refusal? I’ll be glad to hear about it.

    Rose Simons January 13, 2013 - 9:29pm

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