Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Employers Keeping an Eye on Employee's Social Network Profiles!

There has been a lot of attention lately on employers and regulatory bodies that want to keep an eye on the lives of others, particularly through their internet profiles.  For example, a recent story from CNN stated that a wall street regulator wants the power to keep tabs on stockbroker's social network postings.  In other words, he wants to be able to see what wall street employees are saying on their (a)social media accounts in order to see if they are not complying with the law.

The argument goes "investors must be protected, if stockbrokers are chattering about stocks on Facebook and Twitter, FINRA must ensure that the stockbrokers comply with the policies of Wall Street firms."

According to CNN, earlier in the year, FINRA sent letters to around 10 states with laws and/or proposed legislation that ban this kind of monitoring.  The Wall Street Journal recently reported on this matter.

There have been many instances of people being fired for their posts on Facebook over the last few years, and some states have reacted by banning companies from monitoring their employee's accounts.  Again, this begs the question, why have such (a)social media accounts in the first place when your real life (and Facebook is not 'real life') is at risk?

In 2011, there was a lawsuit by an officer at the Maryland Division of Corrections.  He was applying for re-certification after a leave of absence.  The officer stated that an interviewer asked for his Facebook log in information during the interview.  The American Civil Liberties Union took the case, and not too far afterward, Maryland banned this practice.  Other states have begun to follow.  Such laws generally ban employers from requiring access to their employee's and job applicant's social network accounts.

However, now FINRA wants broker-dealers excluded from that ban. 

"Prohibiting access to these accounts conflicts with a firm's responsibilities to comply with federal requirements and threatens investor protection," FINRA complained in its letter. As Smaragdis puts it, FINRA wants financial companies to be able to "follow up on 'red flags.'" (Source: CNN)

Those who support the bans on social networking monitoring believe that if an employer can monitor Facebook posts in order to make sure you are following the company's rules, what would stop them from looking through your photos and your life, using the information they find against you?  This is seen by some, especially those who value privacy, as an abuse of power. 

Of course, the best answer seems to be, don't bother with such sites in the first place.  What would an employer say or be able to do if you were not on Facebook?  After all, not everyone is.  Many who find themselves on Facebook get themselves into trouble.  And is the mental anguish worth it?  What does a person lose by not having a profile?  Of course, that is the main topic of this site.  However, that point is hard to hit home when many people feel that having Facebook is a necessity in life.

I have known people who have become angry at me for finding information about them that they posted on various websites and blogs.  If you do not want your life to be shared with the rest of the world, do not share it on the internet.  The internet is a public forum.  By sharing the intimate details of your life on Facebook, there is a huge chance that others will see it.  I am for privacy, but wonder why those who are on Facebook get especially upset when their privacy is or may be uncovered.  Facebook is, after all, a site thats main purpose is to make the world a more transparent place.  Privacy means keeping personal information about yourself, your life, and the life of your loved ones to yourself (and to those you trust).  If you are posting about your life on a website that was designed to make your life transparent, then you may want to consider otherwise if you do not like often hurtful consequences.  (A)social networking is not worth it.

Source: CNN


  1. I find it especially funny if you mention to someone that you read something they posted on their facebook. All of a sudden they get panicky and creeped out that you looked at their profile as if you're stalking them. If you don't want people looking at your posts either 1. change your profile from public to private or 2. get rid of your profile.

  2. Another great post! And I'd like to add that I also agree with Anonymous's comment.

  3. Very correct article but hardly anything new. Someone says something on Facebook and gets fired straight away, or get their application put into the cylindric archive because of the same. Happens all the time here in Sweden.

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