Before the House of Representatives passed the CISPA Act last month there was a last minute effort to include a provision that would explicitly ban employers from requiring their employees to hand over their social media passwords. The amendment was rejected, but it reopens the door for discussion on the topic.
First of all… why should you not ask your employees or candidates for their social media passwords? What it really boils down to is that you’re likely asking someone to violate the terms of service that they agreed to when they signed up for their social media account. In the case of Facebook’s TOS, section 4.8 states:
You will not share your password (or in the case of developers, your secret key), let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account.
Let me put it this way: do you want your employees to give away their login information to your system?
Didn’t think so.
So what’s the answer to the title of this post? Why should you ask your employees for their social media passwords? I would only ask my employees for their social media password to see how they respond to the request. If they’ve read the TOS of their social media accounts, then they will be aware that handing over their login credentials would be a violation of their agreement with the platform. I would then follow up in one of two ways:
- Reward them for having the guts to rightly refuse the request, or
- Use the situation as an opportunity to help them understand their responsibilities to be aware of the agreements into which they enter, and/or to not be afraid to say “No” when the situation warrants it.