Making Facebook private won't protect you

State agencies are forcing prospective employees to reveal their private Facebook profiles -- or face the consequences.

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I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: Setting your Facebook page to “friends only” and your Twitter feed to private is a good idea, especially if you’re hunting for a job or trying to get into the college of your choice. You want to be selective in the details you reveal about yourself and, quite frankly, what you post on a social network is none of their damned business.

But it appears even that may not be enough to protect you any more.

Bob Sullivan of MSNBC reports that some state agencies and colleges are forcing prospective employees and students to grant them full access to their social networks. Per Sullivan:

In Maryland, job seekers applying to the state's Department of Corrections have been asked during interviews to log into their accounts and let an interviewer watch while the potential employee clicks through wall posts, friends, photos and anything else that might be found behind the privacy wall….

Maryland's Department of Corrections policy first came to light last year, when corrections officer Robert Collins complained to the ACLU that he was forced to surrender his Facebook user name and password during an interview. The state agency suspended the policy for 45 days, and eventually settled on the “shoulder-surfing” substitute.

Submitting to a Facebook frisk is voluntary, but only nominally. If you want the job (and to want to be a prison guard you’re probably pretty desperate) you’ll do whatever it takes.

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