Employers want your Facebook password, but Mark and Co. are here to help. Nice, but there is still no hope.
No intro for this post – we already know that Facebook is taking over our lives.
What’s more disturbing, however, is the recent trend of employers asking candidates for Facebook passwords in job interviews. Most companies already search your name in Google and Facebook to glean any public information, but requiring the disclosure of your password is tantamount to handing over a copy of your house keys in case your boss ever feels like dropping by to make sure you aren’t misbehaving. Apparently Facebook has noticed and has made it known that they are not happy.
Last Friday, Facebook issued a statement, condemning the soliciting of passwords. And then they took it to another level.
Facebook takes your privacy seriously. We’ll take action to protect the privacy and security of our users, whether by engaging policymakers or, where appropriate, by initiating legal action, including by shutting down applications that abuse their privileges.
Did you catch that? Initiating legal action! The prospects of a legal battle with Facebook makes the ACLU (who is working on the matter too) seem like a minor nuisance. Hopefully, this will discourage employers from overstepping their boundaries (now if only we could get Facebook to do so as well).
So why is Facebook so concerned with our privacy? By partnering with users to maintain strict boundaries around personal information, Facebook is ensuring that they, and only they, can have access to (and profit from) your personal information. This is the basis of their entire business model. Also, if employers had access to accounts, people would be less likely to use the site as freely as they do now. Fewer users and reduced volume translates to less information to sell.
Although Facebook has taken a stand against intrusive employers, in the long run, we may be defenseless against entities that know us better than we know ourselves. There are plenty of other companies and government authorities who are actively working to track our behavior in order to facilitate material consumption and political coercion. The irony is that we are voluntarily giving up our privacy. Complaints about corporate intrusiveness are superseded by our frantic appetite to consume more of their products. We may be safe from our employers for now, but if we are headed toward a dystopian future of conformity and control, perhaps it will be our own fault for signing up. For a more full explanation, see this important video.