Special Reports: Facebook Privacy - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Special Reports: Facebook Privacy

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Is your profile secure enough for anyone to see? Even if it's private, employers could see everything you let them.

Some businesses are going as far as asking job candidates for their login information before hiring. WALB News Ten's Tayleigh takes a deeper look into this cyber subject.

Employers across the nation are heading straight to Facebook before they hire. If people don't already have a public profile, some businesses are asking for their login information so they can see just about everything - friends, pictures, videos, what they did that weekend. I asked Albany State University Senior, Vernon Alford, if he felt it was an invasion of his privacy.

"Honestly, it wouldn't really bother me," said Alford. "I look at it as a way to network with future employers. Basically it's just pictures of who I am, just trying to figure out what is Vernon Alford about. What does he like to do?" 

His profile is already public. Other than some school performances and events, he says he doesn't have much to hide. 

"I think when certain users have a private setting, it's kind of like man, what is he trying to hide or trying to conceal?" Alford noted.  

That's exactly what Dougherty County Police Captain Jimmy Sexton thinks. He says it's perfectly legal to ask prospective employees for their log in information. 

"If someone asks for it, and they voluntarily submit it, then I think it's fine," said Capt. Sexton.  "Any public information they put out there we're certainly going to look at." 

Not to mention the extensive background check they already perform. Albany city officials recently discussed implementing Facebook as part of their screening process when hiring new employees. 

"We cannot be arbitrary," said Assistant City Manager, Wes Smith. "We have to be fair, but we also have to move along with the world of today to look at these things so we make sure we don't have candidates who have baggage we don't want." 

Smith says they're still in the beginning stages of setting up policy and procedures to handle this issue correctly. There's always that question. What if an employer comes down to two candidates. One is willing to hand over his or her login info and the other isn't? Would that influence who they hire? 

"I don't think we can give you a final answer right now," Smith added. "I don't know that we'd disqualify somebody from it, but certainly just in a discussion, it would concern me that somebody would not allow me to do that." 

Smith says the city is still in the process of making sure everything is handled legally. He plans to have several computers set up in HR that can be used specifically for Twitter and Facebook, since regular office computers cannot.

As for Alford, he will continue to keep his profile public and safe for employers to see, so he can land a good job.

We asked some other big employers in town if they use Facebook in the hiring process. The Miller Coors brewery and the Marine Corps Logistics Base do not use the social networking site right now.

However, the city and the Dougherty County Police Department say it's a tool they will use more often.

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