Facebook Privacy Settings Rendered Useless

The University of Florida has now found a quick and easy way to bypass Facebook’s privacy settings when screening for new hires. In addition to the traditional background and Google searches they have taken it a step forward. Now, they call potential hires in for an interview, hand them a laptop, and ask them to log into their Facebook profile. If the applicant complies, they are then instructed to show the interviewer around; rendering all their privacy settings null and void.

It’s not just UF either. This practice is now becoming regular procedure for many corporations across the United States. Unfortunately, not many college students know this. Fortunately, your friendly neighborhood blog, Another Day On Facebook, took it upon it’s shoulder to inform the inebriated masses that this is occurring.

Last Thursday we went to the University of Florida’s campus to inform and ask students what their bosses would see if this Facebook profile strip search ever happened to them. The video below contains their responses.

Whether or not you feel comfortable with your future boss looking through your Facebook does not take away from the fact that businesses are getting smarter. They now realize that people’s public Facebook profiles are, because of privacy settings, becoming less and less reliable as a judge of an individual’s character. To me this is just a wake up call. We have to be more careful when it comes to putting information online. Censoring, such as changing your profile to private, can only go so far.

Check back Wednesday for a comprehensive guide to not only protecting your information on Facebook but also preventive measures that will ensure your information does not get leaked to your friend’s friends.

Another Day On Facebook

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  1. Sounds… strange. Will they ask to rummage through my inbox as well?

    • From what I heard from my sources, I do not believe so. What they are looking for is mainly pictures, wall posts, groups, and status updates. They want to assess how much of a liability you will be to their image.

      I read an article about a woman who lost a job offer because in one of her Facebook pictures, she was partially nude.

    • I asked the same question!

      Although I believe I have used my “profile” wisely; there are no wall posts, pictures, etc. that I would be really uncomfortable showing (although I still believe this is a disgusting invasion of privacy) but I would keep my inbox completely off-limits to any potential employer.

      Some studies that show that social media may eventually kill off email.

      From my personal experience, email is something reserved for more formal communications; such as a business letter or a memo to a professor.

      Facebook messaging, at least in my circle, has replaced email as the primary source for contacting one’s friends. If I need to set up a time to have dinner, ask a question about something that happened in class, or whatever, I send what is supposed to be a “private” message to them via Facebook.

      And if there are privacy laws keeping my boss from reading my email, then I believe they should also apply to my inbox, since that is its primary function.

      P.S. Awesome video 🙂

      • Thank you for the comment. The video was fun to make though frustrating at times. I got a few extra stories and comments that didn’t make the cut because they were a little outlandish.

        I now use my profile wisely but I remember the days when I didn’t and I realize that it is easy for a mistake to be chronicled online for the world to see. (Even if you have moved past it)

        For some reason I, a person who is adamantly against anything that infringes on individual’s privacy, side with the corporations. I feel as if this is something that they now “have” to do because their employees are continuously threatening their image and reputation online.

        If the interviewers go so far as too look into your inbox then I would begin to question this practice. I read that link you gave me and I concur with you. Facebook private messaging is what I use to get in contact with a plethora of individuals whereas my email is for business contacts and such.

    • Sterling Feeser
    • February 15th, 2010

    Thanks for the update on this topic!! I will make sure my Facebook will stay clean!! I never knew job interviews can involve Facebook but now I feel informed!! Thank you so much for giving the heads up!!!!!!

    • Ken
    • February 17th, 2010

    I wonder how the University does this without violating data privacy laws, if at all? I don’t know about US but in many countries that would require a data access request that the data holder would have a specified time (i.e.not there and then) to comply with, and so time to clean up the page.

    Of course, the candidate with nothing to hide and huge brass balls could equally ask to see the personal page of his prospective employer/manager, especially (and seriously) so for female applicants concerned with workplace harrassment for example. What secrets might that unlock!

    • I believe it is because of the fact that they first ask you to do it and then you show them around that it is allowed. You can obviously refuse but this will probably indicate that you have something to hide.

      I am unable to produce more information about the practice because when I contacted the specific department where this was reported to be practiced they did not respond.

      I believe the logic is if your information is on an online profile than it is naturally able to be accessed by the public. I feel as if this logic is flawed but I just can’t get pass the fact that more and more businesses are being embarrassed by their employees.

      If a candidate had huge enough brass balls to do this then they would be worthy of my applause. Unfortunately, few do. I know I do not hahah.

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