Michigan House Bill prohibits employee disclosure of Facebook information

When applying for a job, it’s understandable that people might have to attach a résumé or conduct an interview along with turning in an application.

However, what if the employer asks for your Facebook username and password to have access to your account?

Several employers have been asking applicants and employees for passwords to social media accounts such as Facebook for accessibility to the accounts.

“I feel like it’s uncalled for,” senior Sienna Violett said. “You don’t need to see my whole entire profile. What they can see from the Internet, I think would be enough.”

However, Michigan’s House Bill 5523 just might be the solution students, job applicants and employees in the state need.

According to MLive.com, the bill was approved with a vote of 108-0 and would “prohibit employers from requesting that an employee or job applicant disclose usernames, passwords or other information that could give them access to a private social networking account.”

After passing in the Michigan House of Representatives, the bill was advanced to the Michigan Senate.

“I would support it, because people use social media for fun, and I don’t think a stupid thing you post on Facebook should judge rather or not you get a job,” Violett said.

The bill will give students more protection and privacy for their social networking accounts.

Sponsored primarily by Rep. Aric Nesbitt, R-Lawton, the bill’s focus is “to prohibit employers and educational institutions from requiring certain individuals to disclose information that allows access to certain social networking accounts; to prohibit employers and educational institutions from taking certain actions for failure to disclose information that allows access to certain social networking accounts; and to provide remedies."

“It’s a proposal aimed at keeping up with changing technological times," he said.

Rather than scrolling across students’ Facebook pages, some employers have found it easier to perform a simple virtual search.

“Some employers are leaving Facebook alone and searching students on LinkedIn and Google,” said Julia Scherlock, director of Career Services at CMU.

Scherlock said employers do have a purpose for looking on Facebook, which is to understand people as individuals.

Even if there are some companies pushing away from Facebook and administering more general searches, Scherlock still advises students to make more cautious and smart decisions when using social media, saying it can leave a "virtual tattoo."

“I feel like you don’t get to know someone else unless you really sit down and talk to them because when you’re talking, you can see what the person sounds like, if they're comfortable with themselves, really want the job, or is just there because they need a job,” Saint Clair Shores freshman Brianna Hermann said. "Looking online, you’re just going to see pictures and stuff. But you’re not going to see who someone is unless you really just sit down and listen.”


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