Monday, December 13, 2010

Public Service Announcement: For Folks on the Job Market

A good friend is hiring for a position in her organization. She instructed her assistant to run Google and Facebook searches on each applicant.

I present, then, an object lesson in why folks on the job market need to set their Facebook wall posts to be private. Here's the most recent update from one applicant:

And yes--as the applicant in question might say--THAT SHIT'S REAL.


Barbara said...

Okay, but once again, isn't that in violation of Facebook's EULA? Or did the person not have to log in to Fb to find that?

Leslie M-B said...

It may or may not be a violation that I've posted a screen shot here--one that I took, not that my friend's assistant passed on. At the same time, how Facebook expects people to use the information they find on the platform and how they actually use it might be very different. It's why there are a kajillion screen shots (like the one in this blog post) of Facebook wall posts that are shared outside of Facebook.

I looked at the "Rights and Responsibilities" statement on Facebook, and it doesn't say much about sharing or repurposing content outside of FB. It doesn't explicitly forbid it, in fact, except to say one shouldn't steal intellectual property.

The Facebook Principles do warn Facebook users that they should be prepared for people to use their content outside of Facebook in ways they may not authorize: "People should have the freedom to decide with whom they will share their information, and to set privacy controls to protect those choices. Those controls, however, are not capable of limiting how those who have received information may use it, particularly outside the Facebook Service."

Your thoughts?

Barbara said...

Wow. The bastards. They have changed the contents on that page around such that what was okay and not so okay since the last time I looked at it.

I have sat in meetings in higher ed settings and heard people say "we didn't bring X in for an interview because of what we saw after digging around on Facebook for a while..." I find the argument "well we do it because everyone does it" to be lame. And also cowardly.

So if this practice is now so widespread (and therefore somehow ok), employers should have the decency to report back to a candidate what they found and why they found it inappropriate. And then give the person the chance to rectify the situation. That, I think, would be a terrific learning experience not only for the candidate, but for the employer to be.

Pie in the sky, I know. But still...

Barbara said...

Today's Doonesbury is somewhat apropos to this thread :-)

Leslie M-B said...


Let me clarify--I don't think it's polite to rummage around in people's Facebook profiles if you're not their friend, and it might be a blessing to let a candidate know the world can see her FB wall.

Politeness is what keeps me from clicking through to read a couple students' unprotected wall posts when I have discovered (by accident!) that they can be seen by everyone.

But there are some jobs where looking at how a candidate uses FB might be relevant, yes?

I heart Doonesbury, but I haven't been reading it as religiously as I used to. Thanks for the link.