Overheard on CNN.com: What's the password?
Reports about employers asking job applicants for their Facebook passwords provoked strong reaction.
March 23rd, 2012
12:07 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: What's the password?

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Would you give up your Facebook password to get a job? Reacting to reports that some employers were requiring job applicants to do so, a lot of CNN.com commenters said no or more accurately, @%&#@ no!

The American Civil Liberties Union is fighting to block employers from requiring users to share their social-networking passwords, arguing that it is an invasion of privacy.

ACLU: Facebook password isn't your boss' business

Facebook also weighed in about the controversial practice, telling employers not to ask for the passwords unless they possibly want to get sued.

Facebook speaks out against employers asking for passwords

Commenter IamBobBobIam says the first thing he does when considering job candidates is check out their Facebook page.

"If they have anything on there bashing a previous employer or anything of the sort, their resume immediately goes into the recycle bin."

(But asking for a password crosses the line, he says.) "In my mind it is the same as asking for their personal e-mail password."

Jason Fournier agreed that it was invasive and said job hunters should sue.

"Demanding an applicant's Facebook password is equivalent to demanding a copy of the key to their house. Civil lawsuits against such prospective employers should easily succeed, and once the first multimillion dollar penalty against an employer idiotic enough to insist the applicant provide their password is won, this whole story will happily go away.

Several commenters evoked the ghost of Johnny Paycheck, who famously sang "Take This Job and Shove It".

Dan Overholtz: If a boss ever asked me to do that, I'd tell 'em where to shove it. I need a job badly but not that bad!

Some commenters sided with companies and understood why these firms would want to know what prospective employees were doing online.

Cat Nippy: In certain jobs, such as those requiring a security clearance, it might be a valid requirement. Some jobs also have a character clause in the employment contract, and the employer might like to know in advance of hiring and training you if you have nasty things posted on your (Facebook) page.

Qroozer: I think it's fair for companies to do this. They should be able to find out everything they can about who they are hiring.


Many said there wasn't much job seekers could do about the practice in this economy.

BD70: Private companies have people over the barrel. You want the job? A drug test and your Facebook password. They should check on the employees they already have might be surprised at what they find. Unless they already do, in which case I wouldn't want to work for that company. Your private life is not your own. It would belong to them.

lcook5: Of course it is none of your possible bosses' business. Do you want a job? Seems logical to me. You do not have to give it to them. There are lots of people in line for the job.

inc0gnit0: I'm sure it's OK for employers to ask for sexual favors. You can always refuse. There are lots of people in line for the job.

Many readers asked if anyone would want to work for an employer that demanded their Facebook login, and challena responded enthusiastically:

Yes. ... Yes. ... Yes. ... I would as long as my boss feeds my animals and waters my crops on my farm in Farmville.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments below or via CNN iReport.

Compiled by the CNN.com moderation staff. Some comments edited for length or clarity.


Filed under: Facebook • Jobs • Overheard on CNN.com • Technology
soundoff (56 Responses)
  1. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Do they want the username and password to my bank account too?

    March 24, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy¬©

      I said the same thing!!
      Great minds, and all that...

      March 24, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy¬©

      Jeff:
      Well, if you want to GIVE me that account...lol

      March 24, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Superman

    @@@hamsta!!!!!!! People allow our leaders to invade our privacy! If you dont want your privacy invaded than dont have a face book account theres always a simple solution to EVERYTHING,,,

    March 24, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Superman

    I for one, dont like my privacy invaded,but i just keep my computer usage to my smart phone,and no PC doesnt make much differrence though. But if im being intimate with somebody and if they are lucky enough to be able to watch this happen than who cares, surprise to them ist not like privacy really ever existed anyways right? Since im a minimalist anyways its to bad that they cant watch, especially at night they would enjoy!! I dont even respond to spam, the only thing that i do with it is let it drop off on its own but the gov can still hack you! So i just dont worry about it really if people just go about there bussiness, and dont worry they the gov will be so overwhelmed with beta that it would be a waste of there time

    March 24, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy¬©

      Hi, superman.
      The best way not to get caught on a web cam in NOT to have a web cam in the first place! ;)

      March 24, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. bobcat (in a hat)©

    I don't understand why there is so much paranoia over " BOO, The government is coming to get you. " If you are just an ordinary citizen, like myself, why in the world would they want to look into what you are doing ? Now on the other hand, if you are one of these individuals who spout off against the government constantly, yes this could be something that they see as wanting to take a closer look at you. It must be terrible to walk around scared all the time.

    March 24, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy¬©

      I agree with you, Rawr.
      There's a lot here that should be investigated...lol.
      Not everyday Joes like you and I who are just living a peaceful existence.....

      Who wants to be paranoid all the time?
      Not me.

      They're coming to take me away, ha ha, NOT!

      March 24, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat (in a hat)¬©

      @ banasy©
      Personally, I try to enjoy my life to it's fullest extent everday. I keep my nose clean and do whatever I choose to do. I have yet to see one boogeyman hiding in the bushes watching. I don't worry about it. There are enough whackos out there to take up that slack for me. I think they watched too many communist conspiracy movies.

      March 24, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  5. banasy©

    @leeintulsa:
    Glad to be of help, love, so you can see every magnificient page of CNN and its comments.

    March 24, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. patrick©

    Well @dazzle fake, when did you start eating ham and whole wheat bread? Sipping coke before bed is not you either, let. Alone drinking soda of any kind. @hamsta, even you seem to be a troll. In any event, Commodores next week, stop in and show yourself! This whole blog is riddled with fakes.

    March 24, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Pete

    Another one of your liberties gone,thanks to Bush,the mad behind the curtain on the WIZARD OF OZ.I'm the great Bush,the almighty one,be scared of me,be very scared of me..I and my Homeland Security gurus will take all your freedoms away,so don't worry I'll protect you.Remember,I AM THE AWE AND ALMIGHTY BUSH,leader of ignorent people,follow me and I'll set ya free....

    March 25, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. pacman guerrero

    do we get to ask for our employers facebook password? Dont we have the right to know the type of people we are working for, or is the employer the only one that should know this???

    March 27, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
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