Facebook continues to ruin your future self

Like most people, I think about leaving my job all the time — usually not in a “man, I really should get up and go to the bathroom soon” kind of way, but more like like how you think about suicide. You walk by a tall building and think, “Hey, that’s a thing I could jump off of to kill myself. Wonder what that would be like?” Then you forget about it and move on with your life. (This is normal, right? Yeah, totally normal.)

Not unexpectedly, I think most often about leaving my job when the short-term stressors that usually occur over easily endured time periods start clumping together as they have been recently (hence my nearly non-existent output in the last week). Again, nothing that’s really emotionally actionable (especially for someone with as much personal inertia as I possess), but still, you think about it.

Then you read articles like these and think, holy shit, I’ve gotta edit my Facebook page again:

From the Red Tape Chronicles earlier this month:

If you think privacy settings on your Facebook and Twitter accounts guarantee future employers or schools can’t see your private posts, guess again.

Employers and colleges find the treasure-trove of personal information hiding behind password-protected accounts and privacy walls just too tempting, and some are demanding full access from job applicants and student athletes.

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.

Previously, applicants were asked to surrender their user name and password, but a complaint from the ACLU stopped that practice last year. While submitting to a Facebook review is voluntary, virtually all applicants agree to it out of a desire to score well in the interview, according Maryland ACLU legislative director Melissa Coretz Goemann.


Social media monitoring on colleges, while spreading quickly among athletic departments, seems to be limited to athletes at the moment. There’s nothing stopping schools from applying the same policies to other students, however.  And Shear says he’s heard from college applicants that interviewers have requested Facebook or Twitter login information during in-person screenings.

The practice seems less common among employers, but scattered incidents are gaining attention from state lawmakers. The blog Tecca.com last year showed what it said was an image of an application for a clerical job with a North Carolina police department that included the following question:

“Do you have any web page accounts such as Facebook, Myspace, etc.?  If so, list your username and password.”

And if you think you’re safe just because you’re an innocent pubescent, think again:

A 12-year-old Minnesota girl was reduced to tears while school officials and a police officer rummaged through her private Facebook postings after forcing her to surrender her password, an ACLU lawsuit alleges.

The claims are the latest in a string of tales showing that even password-protected, private online activities might not be safe from curious government agencies and schools.

The girl, whose identity is withheld in the lawsuit, came home “crying, depressed, angry, scared and embarrassed” after she was intimidated into divulging her login information by a school counselor and a deputy sheriff, who arrived in uniform, armed with a Taser, the lawsuit alleges.

The lesson here? BURN THE INTERNETZZ!