March 21, 2012, 4:34 PM —
When I wrote about the increasing tendency of companies to demand the Facebook usernames and passwords of job applicants, I figured it was one of those abuses that grow out of ignorance – more of a massive techno/privacy faux pas than a consistent, conscious effort to pry into places employers should not go.
Colleges do it almost routinely as a way to make the work of applicant-vetting easier. Most already had staffers using their own Facebook accounts to scan the comments, Friends and activities of applicants, especially to very competitive schools.
Put up a few pictures of you being an idiot and Harvard will find out you're an idiot, no matter how well you've hidden the evidence in your permanent record.
It turns out it is a lot more than just a new, minor trend. It's pretty well developed, though rarely discussed among adults, who may be embarrassed by the intrusion, embarrassed by what was exposed or just too wary of the consequences to complain much about it.
Kids, on the other hand, not only complain, they strategize, and trade advice.