Facebook: No plans to sue employers asking for your password

Facebook: No plans to sue employers asking for your password

Summary: Facebook wants to protect its users from employers demanding access to their accounts. The company has clarified, however, that it currently has no plans to sue such employers.

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Update: US senators: Investigate employers asking for Facebook passwords

Facebook today stirred up quite the storm when it outlined how it wants to protect its users from employers demanding access to their accounts. The company said it is looking to create new laws as well as take legal action wherever necessary. Menlo Park contacted me to clarify one point though: it's not suing any employers just yet.

Here's the original statement from Facebook Chief Privacy Officer for Policy Erin Egan:

Facebook takes your privacy seriously. We'll take action to protect the privacy and security of our users, whether by engaging policymakers or, where appropriate, by initiating legal action, including by shutting down applications that abuse their privileges. While we will continue to do our part, it is important that everyone on Facebook understands they have a right to keep their password to themselves, and we will do our best to protect that right.

Here's the clarification, courtesy of a Facebook spokesperson:

We don't think employers should be asking prospective employees to provide their passwords because we don't think it's right the thing to do. While we do not have any immediate plans to take legal action against any specific employers, we look forward to engaging with policy makers and other stakeholders, to help better safeguard the privacy of our users.

So there you have it. Facebook currently has no plans to take any legal action, but it is interested in using the law to protect its users. Remember: sharing or soliciting a Facebook password is a violation of the social network's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.

Update: US senators: Investigate employers asking for Facebook passwords

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Topic: Social Enterprise

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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2 comments
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  • Standings

    At least in the U.S., Facebook would have to show that the company had suffered harm before they would have standing to sue anyone. They can't just go into court and say, "Susie's employer demanded her Facebook password so we're suing on her behalf."

    They don't really need to. There is an entire industry of "ambulance chasing" lawyers who would happily take Susie's case on a contingency basis if they smelled Big Damages from a deep-pocket employer.
    Robert Hahn
  • I think they could

    I think that Facebook could legitimately find legal standing here, all they would have to do is claim that it is interfering with their operations and causing harm to their reputation.

    That being said, I think there could be a technological solution and not a legal one. They could simply allow users to create an "Employer Password", when entering this password, it would not display any of the users actual posts, instead it would make up believable phony ones that employers would like.
    cmwade1977