“Don’t Tread On Me”: Employees have strong feelings about employers gaining access to their social media profiles.

Social media privacyRecent news reports that some companies are asking their current employees or prospective new hires to grant them access to their private social media profiles haven’t set well with many people.

It seems that while people don’t mind publishing their personal information for friends and families to see, they’re not keen at all on employers having access as well.

This is borne out in the latest American Pulse survey from BIGinsight, a consumer information portal. In that survey, which queried nearly 3,600 American adults over the age of 18, respondents were asked how they would react to a request by an employer to hand over personal social media passwords, thereby gaining access to their profiles.

Approximately one in five of the survey respondents reported that they are not engaged in social media.  But among the remainder, most would resist the employer’s request … even to the extent of quitting their job:

  • Would quit a job or withdraw an employment application: ~52%
  • Would delete social media pages to prevent them from being seen: ~21%
  • Would go ahead and provide social media passwords to the employer: ~14%
  • Would edit social media profiles first … then provide passwords: ~13%

Based on the opinions of the respondents, it’s not at all surprising that the survey also found that ~85% think that when employers asking for access to social media profiles, it’s an invasion of privacy.  And only about 11% of respondents would be “comfortable” sharing their social media profiles with a potential employer.

There does seem to be a bit of altruism at work, because the preponderance of survey respondents (~72%) claim that they have “nothing to hide” on their social sites.

No doubt, Americans’ views about online privacy are borne out of the “live free or die … don’t tread on me” tradition of individualism in this country.  We love our ability to express ourselves … but spare us the KGB/Stasi routine!

One Response

  1. If anyone, let alone a prospective employer, asks for access to my personal social media profiles, it is a huge red flag. This comes from someone that quit posting on Facebook ~2 years ago and has “nothing to hide.”

    Unfortunately, thousands of employers have followed the state’s example and are meddling more and more in our personal lives. Fortunately for me, I work for an amazing little company that values privacy AND encourages the use of social media. I acknowledge that I am very fortunate.

    As my father told me – “it starts from the top” – if our Nanny State is using illegal wire taps and, in many cases, has virtually gutted habeas corpus, you can bet that employers are using similar tactics to invade our privacy.

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