Thanks for Sharing: The Facebook Invasion

May 8, 2012

By Darrin Clouse:

Imagine filling out a job application and coming across the following demand: “Please provide your Facebook username and password,” or “Please accept Human Resources Director Jane Smith as a ‘friend’ on Facebook.”

The ever-growing presence of social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter has influenced corporations, as well as college admissions to boldly request such information.

If that sounds a bit invasive to you,  Congressman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) would agree. That’s why he recently introduced a bill to Congress called the Social Networking Online Protection Act, or SNOPA.

Legislation would ban requirement

The legislation would ban employers from requiring that employees or job candidates share social networking passwords. It would also ban post-secondary schools from disciplining students for failing to provide such access or from discriminating against applicants who refuse to provide such access.

Maryland passed a similar bill last month making the practice illegal; Engel is now introducing it on the national level.

But the legislation has a long way to go, and most likely needs similar bills to pass at the state level before gaining enough strength to pass as a national act.

What to do if it happens to you?

If this effort is a little too late , and you’ve already relinquished the precious key to your Facebook privacy, don’t worry…there is an answer.

If you provided your password, of course, you can always change it later, to prevent further access. If you were forced to ‘friend ‘ a supervisor, you can take action to limit their access.

Facebook offers you the opportunity to limit your audience for all future posts, allowing you to keep someone from seeing your activity without dropping them as a friend.

Go to your privacy settings page, and under “control your default privacy”, click on “custom.”

On the tab marked “hide this from,”  just type in the friend’s name you wish to block and then click on “save changes”.

It’s that easy. Your so-called friend will be none the wiser.

To them, it will appear that you’ve just been inactive.  Meanwhile, you’ll still be able to share all your comic musings about American Idol and the pictures of the lasagna you’re eating for dinner with all of your real friends.