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. hamsta

    Whats it matter?all you socialist obama lovers like being told how to live your life anyway.

    March 23, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy©

    People who have no idea of what words mean or what a thread is about should not comment.

    March 23, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      @banasy: ooo, BURN! lol..

      March 23, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. dazzle ©

    Hello @bobcat (iah),glad to see that hat again. Yes its here spouting the same drivel.

    March 23, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. banasy©

    Hi, bc(iah).
    I'm torn between reading this, or starting the newest Jonathan Kellerman book.
    Both deal with abnormal psychology.

    March 23, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  5. hamsta

    @banasy i am very aware that the thread is about employers accessing your facebook page.my point was everyone is in love with a president that has no respect for the privacy and rights of citizens so why should it be so wrong for your employer to do the same?

    March 23, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • dazzle ¬©

      Hamsta, you are writing quite well tonight? I guess that online GED class is paying off. Kindly answer the question I posed to you.

      March 23, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy¬©

      Hamsta.
      I am not in love with the POTUS, although I respect him.
      My privacy hasn't been violated by him, and neither has yours.
      I am well aware that you cannot stand him, but you bringing him up on every thread, even the most innocuous ones, is a borderline obsession, and that is not healthy for you.
      Stick to the subject, please?

      March 23, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. dazzle ©

    @bobcat(iah) you're killing me ;-). If it has anything to do with the likes of the hamsta persona, I'll take a pass.

    March 23, 2012 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. hamsta

    @dazzle as a crand operator every time you eat dinner,put shoes on your feet,put makeup on your face or use anything that wasnt made in your own town its thanks to people like me.i have read some of your comments about pharmacuedical drugs(some prescribed drugs are more dangerous than the worst of the street drugs)that you are able to prescribe.

    March 23, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      @dazzle: are you a doctor? maybe you could look at this rash...

      March 23, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. banasy©

    Bc(iah):
    Kellerman's main character deals with murder, but not the murder of the English language.
    He mixes up the subject matter, at least; he's not predictable...

    Loved you blind man joke.
    I told it at the library.
    They howled. (Groan!)

    March 23, 2012 at 11:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. dazzle ©

    @troll of leeintulsa, nice try but you're not in blue

    March 23, 2012 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      @dazzle: no, it's me. i don't do blue anymore. figured out what was up..

      it wasn't my cellphone making it blue. it was 'mobile view'. i couldn't page back in mobile view.

      banasy told someone else how to turn mobile view off, i did. and love it. i can go to different pages of comments and everything.. no more wondering what i missed when a new page kicked in.

      March 24, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy¬©

      Glad to be of help, love.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy¬©

      CNN apparently doesn't want people to know this, since they deleted my initial post to you.
      I am glad to be of help, love, so you can see all of the magnificence that is CNN.

      March 24, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  10. hamsta

    @dazzle i might be a little more friendly towards you if you werent always trying to belittle me and insult me.im alot more intelligent than you think.im qualified to build and repair your car and just about everything in your house including your computer,tv,radio,air conditioner,refrigerator,stove and furniture.you talk all that brain chemistry crap but dont have the brain capacity to understand the things i know or the nerves of steel required to operate the heavy machinery i use.a simple mistake can kill someone.

    March 23, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. banasy©

    Tooting one's horn is extremely tedious to read on a constant basis.
    I can tell everyone here about my many talents and accomplishments; but I dislike the bragadocio aspect of it, so I shan't.
    If one makes outrageous statements with no way to back up their assertions, it's all fiction, in my book; a book I think I *will* start, as the story will be new to me, and not the old SS,DD I have been reading here.

    Ciao.

    March 23, 2012 at 11:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. hamsta

    @banasy maybe if you were to check out other news sights you might know that obama personally signed into law granting government agencies to record all electronic communications including phone conversations, email,text messages,social media and keep the recordings for five years.heres one for you,these new fangled gadgets like refrigerators that have tvs and connect to the internet are a gateway into your privacy and obama personally granted the cia to spy on your refridgerator usage.they can read the temperature of your fridge they know when you open your fridge they even know if you replaced your water filter.if a street level hacker can access my sisters web cam and tell her what she was doing in her bedroom imagine what the government can do.

    March 24, 2012 at 12:00 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy¬©

      hamsta, perhaps if you forgot about your hatred of Obama for a moment, you would know that the law you are referring to was written during the Bush administration as a companion to the Patriot Act. It was in the works a long time, but since Obama signed it into law, you blame him?
      Cut the crap.
      There is a lot going on that Obama didn't start, but he gets blamed for.
      Perhaps if you didn't start every sentence with an insult, people wouldn't insult YOU.

      I'm off these boards for now.

      March 24, 2012 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  13. banasy©

    Yes, I'm sure it was "rrrruff" on the dog.....(groan!)

    March 24, 2012 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
  14. dazzle ©

    Goodnite all, I have a super early flight. Any posts hereafter under this user name is not me. Hamsta, next you'll be saying that you will be the mechanic on my plane. Perish the thought.

    March 24, 2012 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
  15. hamsta

    @banasy think again this law is seperate.they no longer need ties to terrorism or probable cause.

    March 24, 2012 at 6:37 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy¬©

      hamsta, I didn't say anything about terrorism, I said this was written long ago as a companion to the Patriot Act.
      A Long Time Ago.
      Pre-Obama.
      Please read the posts more thouroughly before you comment.
      Thank you.

      March 24, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
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