Businesses may soon be banned from requiring potential employees to divulge their social media passwords, for sites such as Facebook and Twitter, during the hiring process. State Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago) says businesses have been requiring the passwords lately. Gaining access to an applicant’s account not only gives employers access to personal social information but sometimes sensitive banking information as well, Ford says.
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The bill’s opponents simply don’t understand, he says. “If legislators had to give their Twitter and Facebook account passwords how would they like that? They wouldn’t like it. They wouldn’t want to give their password to anyone because it’s their personal password,” he says. State Rep. Jil Tracy (R- Quincy), the House labor committee’s minority spokeswoman, says the bill would overregulate businesses. “The person could give a user-password or whatever,” she says. “He could change that as soon as he walks out of that application process. I just don’t know if we need to legislate every step of the process.”
Ford says a common misperception is that the bill would ban employers from using information found on applicants’ public profiles during the hiring process. “This does not do that,” Ford says. Ford says he expects the bill to become law by the end of the spring legislative session.