Protecting your Facebook privacy from employers

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Looking for a job? Be prepared to give up your Facebook password during an interview.

More companies are asking potential employees to divulge social media account information.

"If they get the power to take your password, you might as well put nothing on there but the bare essentials," Cory Nash said.

Cory Nash is a sophomore at John Wood Community College and like many students his age, he's a social network user. While he says he has nothing to hide from prospective employers, he still thinks having to divulge his password during an interview is infringing on his first amendment rights ... but that might not be true.

"The right to say what you want, the right of free speech is not absolute as the old saying goes 'the right of free speech does not mean you can not yell fire in a crowded theater,' so there are limits," Adams County Sates Attorney, Jon Barnard, said. And employers are trying to set those limits with prospective employees by managing their social media accounts.

"That person represents the company no matter whether they're on the job or off the job," Judy Litchfield, employment specialist at John Wood Community College, said. "They're often known in their community for working there so they want that person to behave appropriately, so they're looking at that to see what kind of behavior that person had in the past."

But a proposed bill (HB3782) introduced by Illinois State Rep. LaShawn Ford (D-Chicago) will amend the Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act. Making it illegal for a prospective employee to ask for account information to access a social network site.

Illinois State Rep. Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) initially opposed the bill but after her suggested changes were accepted she is now in support.

"A potential employer would have the ability to see the names you use on social media so that they would know what was out there and we felt like that was a reasonable compromise and fair," Tracy said. "Because anything you put on social media you don't really have privacy because anybody could access and an employer might want to check that sometime."

But until the bill passes, job seekers and social media users should be cautious even if your profile is private.

"They need to start being very careful, they should only post things on there that they would be happy to see on a bulletin board in a hallway, and if they wouldn't want to see it there then they shouldn't put it on Facebook either," Litchfield said.

The bill is currently before the house rules committee.

Are you concerned about your Facebook privacy? Should an employer be able to ask for and use your passwords to log into your social media accounts? Tell us what you think below or on our Facebook page here.