If you can't keep bosses out of your Facebook, hide the book

Candidates violated by bosses and colleges need ways to hide what they can no longer protect

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My sources on this have to remain unnamed, but all are among the hordes crowding toward the narrow entrance corridors of the nation's halls of academia, or are helping guide the herd in the right direction and advising them not to trample each other.

Until last year the Thing to Do with your Facebook account is exactly the advice most news outlets are giving to adults now: Edit your Facebook account, take out any embarrassing pictures, un-Friend all those Friends whose criminal past or wild present give you a thrill by association. Remove from your personal social-networking site all evidence of personality, individuality, social interaction or ability to have fun.

Any indication of any of those could cause a negative reaction in a hiring manager whose soul has already dried up like desiccated prunes and whose taste for life has shriveled behind lips pursed in disapproval and eyes shining with the righteousness of those who are willing to put others through any indignity, probe any delicate part, brush away any inconvenient legalities or discussion of "rights" in order to ferret out some bit of private information that would allow them to complete an evisceration of the ego by dismissing the applicant out of hand as "inappropriate."

Since the ACLU began pressuring companies, colleges and government agencies that do this, and publicizing the fact that it's being done, some companies have shifted from requiring candidates to hand over their passwords to simply stuffing them into a chair in front of a company computer, demanding that they log in to Facebook and then read slowly (their lips don't move as fast as yours), looking up all the hard words, telling the humiliated job candidates when and where to click so they can pry into private lives by proxy rather than doing it obviously and in person.

If anything, that's even worse than the other way, which is like handing over your keys so a burglar can rifle through your underwear drawer, rather than having to go along to the burglar can make fun of the quality of your underwear and complete absence of the kind of embarrassing evidence that you have a more interesting life than it seems from the outside.

High school kids are way ahead on avoiding humiliation, at least this particular one.

Rather than pull all the good stuff out of their Facebook profiles – which is a lot of work and often ineffective because Friends can post things unexpectedly or be traced through the account anyway – high school seniors are changing the names on their Facebook accounts to make it harder for college-admissions censors to find them.

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