A funny story has been circulating in the media the past couple years: Employers asking potential employees for social network passwords.
The formula’s always the same: A lede focused on the human interest angle, typically someone struggling in their job search. And then a few scattered examples of companies implementing the practice.
Then people tweet it, facebook it and blog about it. Hey, it’s an interesting story.
Here’s the real story, though: Every now and then, some upper management idiot gets the terrible idea to ask for Facebook passwords in a job interview.
That’s it. This is not a widespread thing. It’s not trending. It’s not growing. Asking employees for this kind of information is outrageously stupid for a variety of reasons, as any HR person, PR person or lawyer will tell you.
So what do you do if a non-story involving your company just won’t go away? Well, if you’re Facebook, you add to it. You go on the offensive and say you might just sue those companies. Confront the non-issue with empty threats and suddenly you’re the good guy. You’re the hero of the village, warding off all the monsters that lurk deep in the scary woods.
I have this to say to Facebook: Awesome move. Someone threw you into the three-ring circus and you learned how to juggle.