Colleges and employers demand access to Facebook accounts-New requirement breeches personal barriers, deprives applicants of privacy rights

by Vinny Bianco
and Dan McMillan
In response to a new trend that has colleges and employers across the nation demanding access to the Facebook accounts of their applicants, the Chief Privacy Officer of Facebook, Erin Egan, released a statement saying, “we’ve made it a violation of Facebook’s statement of rights and responsibilities to share or solicit a Facebook password.” While those who employ this new application requirement maintain that access to Facebook accounts is necessary for investigating the integrity of their applicants, it is clear that the outcome of this controversy must be that passwords remain secret.
“We’ll take action to protect the privacy and security of our users, wh
ether by engaging policymakers or, where appropriate, by initiating legal action, including shutting down [college and employment] applications that abuse their privileges,” said Facebook.
Students in high school are not strangers to the ramifications of publicly posting risky or sensitive content on Facebook. But with this new practice on the part of some colleges, content on students’ accounts that would otherwise be private might result in “unfair judgment that could jeopardize students’ or employees’ acceptance into college or work,” said senior Dara Baliatico.
Facebook has standards that define violations of privacy; demanding the passwords of prospective students and employees both invades the privacy of Facebook users and destroys the barrier between personal and professional or academic life.
“I feel like business and personal life should always stay separate. The way you behave in the workplace and outside of it should not influence each other,” said junior Stephanie Giaretta, who was asked by a prospective employer to supply her Facebook password.
The interactions that take place within a college or work setting differ greatly from that of the cyber world. It is obvious that peoples’ Facebook accounts are not a true and thorough reflection of their character. Demanding passwords is nothing more than a lazy, unnecessary practice that gives schools and employers an excuse to poke their noses in  the private lives of their applicants.
Many prospective college students and employees may feel obligated to reveal their passwords, forgetting their right to privacy in exchange for acceptance. But in order to protect themselves against this latest mode of exploitation, applicants should always refuse to sacrifice their online security and rise up against the unjust requirement.