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Maryland Bans Employers from Demanding Social Media Passwords. Question Is: Why Are They Asking?

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​Maryland just became the first state to ban employers from requiring employees (and potential employees) from requiring access to people’s social media pages. To be honest, I’ve always been a bit confused as to why people were asking for them in the first place, so the necessity of this law always baffled me.

Maryland just became the first state to ban employers from requiring employees (and potential employees) from requiring access to people’s social media pages. To be honest, I’ve always been a bit confused as to why people were asking for them in the first place, so the necessity of this law always baffled me.

Employers trolling through social media sites always felt rather unseemly to me, but the justifications are somewhat understandable: you don’t want somebody who will reflect poorly on you, so seeing their public profiles is a great way to head off any problems before they come into being.

But, that rationalization goes away when you’re no longer looking at public profiles. While I could theorize that a person could be sharing corporate secrets via Facebook, I sincerely doubt that anyone who would be smart enough to do good corporate espionage would be dumb enough to include such an intense paper trail.

So, what do people hope to gain by seeing people’s private Facebook profiles? It certainly can’t be because they’re putting up a bad public face if the face isn’t public. So, what reason do they have for going into it?

Unfortunately, I think the real reason why companies would delve into it is to engage in one of the ugliest facets of our lives: prejudice. No matter which group they would like to keep out of their companies, by digging into people’s social media profiles they will come across the sort of things that people shouldn’t have to tell prospective bosses: religion, relationship status, background, etc. There simply isn’t much else that’s on a social media profile which is private. Therefore, I applaud the law in Maryland; it is much needed.

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