Can your boss be a Facebook “friend”?


Brian CorriganAustralian Financial Review
Katina MichaelUniversity of Wollongong


Employers need to have a defined policy about what they do. They have no right to go and ask a potential candidate at any time (even in an interview) for their Facebook username and password. That is plainly discriminatory. It is like asking someone if they are married or single, have children or plan to have children. It is often the case that people are their own worst enemy. They cannot cry “privacy” if their profile is public and can be seen by anyone. But there are many cases that individuals do not realise how public and searchable their data actually is. Many employees would have no idea if they have not been shortlisted for a job based on their Facebook profile. But there are some Gen Ys that say that firms need to wake up and differentiate between someone’s Facebook profile and their LinkedIn profile. That Facebook is about personal things, and LinkedIn is about one’s professional life and experience. But there are also risks about relying on data in the cloud to make a judgement about someone. How do you know the data on Facebook is valid? How do you know it actually is the candidate’s page? How do you know the photo of the potential candidate hasn’t been manipulated? How do you know if the photo has been wrongly tagged? Or tagged with someone who has the same name? Employers need to disclose their practices and have strict policies about the do’s and dont’s.

Suggested Citation

Brian Corrigan and Katina Michael. "Can your boss be a Facebook “friend”?" Australian Financial Review: Technology>Digital Mar. 2012.