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Should Job Applicants Have to Submit to a Facebook Review?

Is it right for employers to request that job applicants submit to a Facebook review? The American Civil Liberties Union is fighting this very hiring practice in Maryland after receiving a complaint last year from a Department of Corrections officer who said he had to turn over his Facebook login credentials during his interview. Currently, the agency asks candidates to log into their Facebook account and click through their photos, wall posts and friends as an interviewer looks on.

Technically, this Facebook review is voluntary, but as Melizza Coretz Goemann of the Maryland ACU pointed out to MSNBC, nearly all candidates submit to it because they want to do well in their interview. "This is an invasion of privacy," she argued. "People have so much personal information on their pages now. A person can treat it almost like a diary. And [interviewers] are also invading other people's privacy. They get access to that individual's posts and all their friends. There is a lot of private information there."

Goemann acknowledged that the Department of Corrections uses the "shoulder-surfing" interview practice to weed out job applicants who have gang ties. The method seems to be effective: The agency revealed to the ACLU that it had denied employment to seven of 2,689 candidates after seeing Facebook photos of them flashing "verified gang signs."

MSNBC reports that legislators in Maryland have drafted two bills that, if passed, would ban employers and schools from accessing students' and candidates' social media profiles. Do you think similar legislation should be proposed throughout the country, or do employers have a right to leverage social media during the hiring process?

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(Photo credit: Ludovic Bertron/Flickr)

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