New Facebook privacy rules affect employers

This National Law Journal article does a good job explaining how employers should treat social networking as part of the employment screening and  conduct process.  The article goes on to list specific best practices for developing social networking policies for an organization.

But what the author says about the new Facebook rules are particularly interesting so I’ll quote it:

“On Dec. 9, 2009, a privacy policy change affecting all 350 million Facebook users made each Facebook user’s name, profile picture, current city, gender, networks, list of friends and list of “pages” publicly viewable by other Facebook users and also set some users’ photo albums to public. Only through obscure privacy settings can Facebook users affirmatively make some, but not all, of this information private.”

The impact of this on employers is that its easier for them to utilize Facebook data for employment screen purposes.  However, the article goes on to explain the liability risks this poses as well.

No discussion of social networking training for all employees:  The article suggests training for human resources personnel but not for all employees.  However, the author does suggest that employers include in their policies that employees agree to use “good judgment” in what they publish online.  I would argue that “good judgment” isn’t so simple when the people using social networking websites, tools and other outlets aren’t properly educated in their use and misuse.   Basic social networking training should be required for all employees.

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