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Maryland Bans Employer Access to Jobseekers’ Private Facebook Profiles


Maryland legislators have approved a bill that prohibits employers from accessing jobseekers' private Facebook profiles. The controversial practice, which has raised serious privacy concerns in the social media community, entailed human resources employees either asking job applicants for their Facebook and Twitter passwords outright or asking them to log into their accounts as a company representative "shoulder-surfed" the portions of the candidate's profile that were hidden from the public.

"We are proud of Maryland for standing up for the online privacy of employees and the friends and family members they stay in touch with online," said Melissa Goemann of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland. "Our state has trail-blazed a new frontier in protecting freedom of expression in the digital age, and has created a model for other states to follow."

The key word in the Maryland legislation is "private," as employers are still free to view publicly posted material. The U.S. Senate and other states, including California, are expected to follow suit and propose similar bills to protect social media users. What do you think of Maryland's new social media law?

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(Photo credit: Sean MacEntee/Flickr)

Marissa Brassfield
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