Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Facebook Fights Back For Users' Privacy

Many stories have hit the news recently about employers or other superiors requesting, if not demanding, an employee's or potential employee's Facebook records. In some instances, they require not just entries themselves, but the login information. Here is one example where a teacher's aide was fired for not forking over her password. She is fighting her own legal battle against the school.

Seeing its own interests at stake, Facebook is jumping into the fray. The social networking service would hardly function if users believed any inquiring mind could have access to their personal information. What's more, divulging passwords grants the recipient access not just to that person's account, but the profiles, messages, photos, and every other piece of content on his or her friends' accounts. Those friends would have no reason to suspect that someone other than the person they accepted as a trusted friend is meandering through their private profile. Sharing passwords undercuts the purpose and expectations of privacy settings and the self-regulated privacy of a friend group.

I would describe Facebook's notice on this issue as somewhere between incredulous and scathing, or perhaps both. Tell me what you think.