A newly signed California law forbids employers and universities from asking employees and applicants for their social media passwords. The law was hastily developed in response to a string of reports last spring of employers coercing applicants to “voluntarily” allow businesses to snoop through their Facebook accounts as part of the interviewing process. The United States House of Representatives failed in an attempt to ratify a Federal ban, paving the way for states to take up the responsibility.
Universities and scholarships were also found with sophisticated procedures around monitoring current athletes and student applicants. The University of North Carolina handbook for sports explained, “Each team must identify at least one coach or administrator who is responsible for having access to and regularly monitoring the content of team members’ social networking sites and postings.”
Facebook responded to the media frenzy by reminding schools, governments, and businesses that giving away passwords was expressly forbidden by their security rules.
Hoping to help Facebook end the practice, the bill will go into effect January 1.