“Privacy” and Social Media: What hiring managers need to know

By Adam Robinson,
May 20, 2013

When social media networks began to take off circa 2006, the primary users were high school and college students. The fear of teachers, professors and universities “creeping” on their profiles drove students to set their profiles to private and blur out the beer cans in seemingly every picture. But as the user-base of sites like Facebook and Twitter has expanded to include adolescents, senior citizens and everyone in between, the risks of
documenting your life online have grown as well.

Arguably the biggest concern of social media users, the chance of an employer making a hiring decision based upon one’s profile has lead to countless lawsuits and forced some states to intervene. Last week Colorado became the eighth state to enact a social media workplace privacy law. Joining the ranks of Maryland, Illinois, California, Michigan, Utah, New Mexico, and Arkansas, Colorado’s new law places three restrictions on employers regarding access of applicant social media accounts. 

Although the laws vary by state, it’s important to be aware of their limitations in order to protect yourself, your company and the applicant.

The following are the three primary take-aways from Colorado’s new social media law:

1. No requests for social media user names and passwords

2. No forced-friending or requiring that the employer be added as a contact

3. No requiring that privacy settings be changed

Learn how to use social media (legally) to recruit new hires in our latest guide “The Hiring Manager’s Handbook to Social Recruiting.” 


About the Author

Adam co-founded Hireology with the mission to help growing companies make better hiring decisions through data and better technology. Adam is passionate about entrepreneurship, donating time to a number of organizations that support the entrepreneurial cause. Adam completed his undergraduate study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and received his MBA from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.

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