Should employers check Facebook profiles?

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At the Career Symposium, I attended the “What’s Trending and What is Here to Stay in the Communication Industry,” where the topic of Social Media was brought up. This naturally segued into whether employers should or should not check Facebook profiles of potential employees. I see both sides of the argument, the employer and employee’s, and I’m torn. However, in the end it’s inappropriate to ask potential employees for their Facebook login information to investigate their image.

Facebook has put into question what about our lives are private and what are public. Facebook has privacy options that I employ because I don’t want just anyone researching my private life- what I do with my friends and family. Old school thinkers believe once information is posted online it’s public and thus accessible to everyone. New school thinkers, like myself and others of the Millennial generation, believe the information they post online is still their private property to do what they want with, and if possible determine who sees the information.

Still, I use “Facebook Common Sense,” meaning there are some things I don’t say and some things I don’t do because I don’t want it being shared online. Then, when one or two posts of mine might be misconstrued, I utilize user controlled settings to block those who may not “get it” from seeing what I post. More of my peers can benefit from using their Facebook Common Sense to stay out of potential trouble.

I can understand where employers are coming from, though, in their need to investigate potential representatives of their company on such easily accessible websites like Facebook. If employees are airing their dirty laundry for everyone to see, then it’s the employers right to see; the company’s reputation is on the line and no one wants to hire an idiot.

But, just because this method of researching is easy doesn’t mean it’s right. More so, it’s unethical to demand Facebook login information to investigate potential employees, especially if information is set to private, so only certain people have access to certain information. If I respect my private life enough to use Facebook Common Sense, and to set my private life information to private settings, rest assured I respect your public appearance enough to use real life common sense.

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