GOOD READS

Job Applicant Privacy And Social Media

As we enter into a brand new financial year, there appears to be little chance of stopping the unprecedented growth of social media . By the close of 2011, Facebook had amassed 845 million active users worldwide, which showed a significant increase of 45 million in just three months since the previous financial quarter. Twitter was another social media website that continued to break new ground during 2011, as it was reported in September that the site had reached 100 million active global users.

However, these figures do not tell the whole story when it comes to social media and the significant challenges that they are facing. To begin with, the market is beginning to reach the point of saturation, as Facebook prepares for a continued fall in its monthly user growth, while only 27% of global Twitter accounts were reported as being active between September 1st and November 30th last year. More significant than this, however, was the recent news that a New York job seeker was asked to provide his Facebook username and password for inspection during an interview. This raised further concerns over the misuse of social media, and the protection of each individual's privacy rights.

E-Recruitment and Social Media Screening: Taking a Step Too Far
While the use of social media to screen and hire applicants is nothing new , historically this has only been applied to public accounts that were without privacy restrictions. When e-recruitment rose in conjunction with increased social media usage in 2011, it became common practice for employers to review their applicants' public profiles as part of the hiring process, while the use of professional networking site LinkedIn allowed candidates to be recruited directly through social media interaction

With more than 60% of all U.S. and U.K. Internet users active on Facebook, social media screening emerged as an insightful and time-effective method of confirming a candidate's suitability for a role. With no way of accessing an applicant's private account, employers were forced to either befriend their potential employee or conduct a more traditional evaluation of their attributes. However, now that public and private employers are looking to take a more direct and invasive approach, worried job seekers are facing up to an impossible choice that compromises either their opportunity to work or their privacy.

The Reaction: The Stance of Facebook and Individual Users
Privacy issues are nothing new with Facebook, which was criticized as being little more than a global photo identification database by research carried out in 2011. Despite this, they have taken a firm stance on this latest issue, by threatening to take legal action against any employers who force users to compromise their own online privacy. The sharing of sensitive account information violates the core principles of the Facebook user agreement, and could potentially end in lawsuits and counter lawsuits between account holders, employers and even the social media giants themselves.

One of the main issues is the content that a Facebook password affords to employers . Not only would they be able to view an applicant's profile and timeline, but they would also be able to view private messages, conversations and deeply personal information about individual users and their family. If this information is accessed in the course of a failed application, the employer could be accused of discriminatory action. Aside from this, there is the wider issue that job seekers do not have the leverage that they need in a competitive employment market, with the result that many may agree to privacy violations under duress.

The Future for Facebook and Social Media as a Whole
U.S. lawmakers are also looking to take a stand on this issue, with the aim of protecting social media account holders from these invasive screenings. Senator Blumenthal has already began to develop legislation that opposes the practice of requesting job seekers' social media account details, which could well be introduced into the U.S. senate in the near future. A California state senator, LeLand Yee, is looking to create similar legislation for his own state, declaring the practice as unnecessary, unconstitutional and a gross invasion of privacy in the process.

Without swift action from lawmakers across the globe or Facebook themselves, the social media giant and its contemporaries could see their numbers of active users drop significantly over the next 12 months. After all, there have been reports of Facebook experiencing reduced growth in individual countries since 2010, and with more than 845 million active users, there is a danger that Facebook and similar social media outlets will soon reach their saturation points. Any significant threat to user and job seeker privacy could hinder growth further, and even encourage existing users to deactivate their accounts.

The Bottom Line
The reaction of U.S. lawmakers, Facebook users and the social media giant themselves suggest that there is growing concern for the freedom and privacy of job applicants with social media accounts. These personal rights are core to the fabric of any civilized nation, and no employer or organization should ever have the right to access the personal information of applicants and infringe on their privacy. Social media sites have a duty to protect users against the misuse of their personal information. Failure to uphold that duty may result in a significant reduction in the number of existing social media users, as well as diminished growth and a tarnished reputation for these websites.



More From Investopedia

Quiz: How well do you know India's economy?

Question 1

Which of these products is India the world's largest producer of?

Poll Choice Options
  • Wheat
  • Rice
  • Milk
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10

Latest News

  • Sensex trades flat during pre-noon session

    Mumbai, April 16 (IANS) A benchmark index of Indian equities markets was trading flat at 18.52 points or 0.08 percent down during the pre-noon session Wednesday. Good buying was seen in metal and banking ... …

  • China economic growth slows to 18-month low in Q1
    China economic growth slows to 18-month low in Q1

    China's economy grew at its slowest pace in 18 months at the start of 2014, but did a touch better than expected and showed some improvement in March, suggesting Beijing will not rush to follow up recent steps to support activity. The economy grew 7.4 percent in the January-March quarter from a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Wednesday. It was China's slowest annual growth since the third quarter of 2012, when the world's second-largest economy also grew 7.4 percent. …

  • CSuisse upgrades Titan on hopes regulatory overhang would dissipate

    Reuters Market Eye - Titan Company shares gain 1.4 percent after Credit Suisse upgrades the stock to "outperform" from "neutral" and raises target to 310 rupees from 250 rupees on expectations gold regulatory frameworks would be dismantled in 6-12 months. India had allowed five domestic private sector banks to import gold, in what industry officials say could be a significant step towards easing of tough curbs on the metal imposed last year. Credit Suisse says the expectations says are based …

  • Indian attitudes don't change: Whitening products continue to sell

    New Delhi, April 16 (IANS) Matrimonial advertisements for "fair girls" or commercials of beauty brands glamourising the light skin show that the obsession for fair skin persists among women in India despite a majority of Indian women being of brown or dark pigment. According to market researchers ACNielsen, in 2010, India's whitening-cream market was worth $432 million (Rs.2,600 crore). The visual media has changed the strategy so much that even fair people also use fairness products," Ravi …

  • Fed should beef up low-rate vows, two officials say
    Fed should beef up low-rate vows, two officials say

    FARGO North Dakota/BANGOR Maine (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Reserve ought not to raise interest rates until the economy is much closer to full strength, two of the Fed's most dovish policymakers said on Tuesday. "If you commit to keeping rates low even as the recovery is proceeding, even as we continue to recover, I think people have a sense, the Fed has the recovery’s back," Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Narayana Kocherlakota said at North Dakota State University. If households …

IN-DEPTH ANALYSIS & INTERVIEWS

  • This might well be India’s biggest Ponzi scam

    It was just too good to be true. Ashok Khital, 45, displays every symptom of a man who knows he's been conned. …

  • India's star studded football league

    High and mighty including Sachin, Salman & Sun Group buy ISL teams …

  • Leaderspeak with Rajesh Janey

    Rajesh Janey, President - India & SAARC, EMC shares many firsts in his life. …

  • Power Hungry

    Gujarat has power round-the-clock. Most other states do not. Why this will matter in the general elections. …

  • Etcetera

    The most keenly watched contest of the current general election will be the one for the Varanasi parliamentary seat, where the Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial hopeful Narendra Modi squares off ... …

  • Economy vs Democracy

    As the country gets election fever, cash comes out of mattresses and turns into liquor, gifts, and food. But it is not bad for the health of the economy, reports Sarika Malhotra from the trenches. …

  • Bracing for Challenges

    Raghuram Rajan is preparing to deal with concerns that may arise when a new government takes charge. …

MARKET MOVERS

  • Most Actives
    Most Actives
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    457.05+39.45+9.45%
    ADANIENTE.BO
    105.60+5.50+5.49%
    FRL.BO
    16.07-0.53-3.19%
    UNITECH.BO
    72.60-3.05-4.03%
    HDIL.BO
    35.10+0.40+1.15%
    PUNJLLOYD.BO
  • Price % Gainers
    Price % Gainers
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    640.25+378.39+144.50%
    EFPL.BO
    155.25+25.85+19.98%
    PANACEABIO.BO
    459.00+69.00+17.69%
    GCMSECU.BO
    686.60+91.55+15.39%
    SUNDRMCLAY.BO
    50.80+5.50+12.14%
    FEDDRLOY.BO
  • Price % Losers
    Price % Losers
    NamePriceChange% Chg
    -12.07-100.00%
    4THGEN.BO
    -17.30-100.00%
    ALFAICA.BO
    -10.65-100.00%
    BORAX.BO
    -10.50-100.00%
    CITADEL.BO
    -10.11-100.00%
    DHAMPURE.BO
  •  
    Recent Quotes
    Symbol Price Change % ChgChart 
    Your most recently viewed tickers will automatically show up here if you type a ticker in the "Enter symbol/company" at the bottom of this module.
    You need to enable your browser cookies to view your most recent quotes.
  • Recent Quotes News

    •  
      Sign-in to view quotes in your portfolios.