Each time Facebook changed their privacy settings, the chatter in social media was intense and people were bothered there wasn’t an announcement to warn users. So, I was pleased to learn 2 U.S. senators are asking Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate if employers who ask for Facebook passwords during job interviews are violating federal law. I was shocked to learn some employers and Universities have asked applicants to share their password, to peruse their personal page. Universities and potential employers would argue this quick look at an applicant gives them a better tool to assess and choose wisely. Applicants can always change their password after the interview. But, personal information such as gender, race, religion and age are often displayed on a Facebook profile — all details that are protected by federal employment law. Plus, if an interviewer discovers an applicant is a member of a private group and not hired or accepted – would/should the applicant pursue legal options claiming discrimination?

It’s not good practice to post inappropriate images or negative comments on social media. There’s enough negative stuff in the world and news anyways – why bring it closer to home? As Plato so aptly said, “As a man thinks, so shall he become.”

I’m very aware not everybody is a do-gooder and wants to mend the world within their reach. But conversely, your online actions can be detrimental to your future – especially if you post aforementioned items and have not changed your security settings. University and potential employers could argue negative comments could indirectly affect them as well, and it’s just a different type of background check. But, I still believe it’s an invasion of privacy and do not recommend sharing ANY of your passwords with somebody else.

One final comment about passwords. Passwords should be lengthy; using both upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters. Please do not use birth dates, children’s names, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, etc.

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