I’ve written before about how postings on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and other social-media sites have been used against individuals. Such sitesÂ have been usedÂ to gatherÂ evidenceÂ in trials againstÂ jurorsÂ andÂ defendants, inÂ divorceÂ cases, againstÂ employeesÂ (whichÂ canÂ lead toÂ lawsuits),Â politiciansÂ andÂ high school students.
Weâ€™veÂ seen itÂ affectÂ applicantsÂ toÂ jobs inÂ the United StatesÂ and abroad. For a while,Â there was increasing focusÂ on the practice by some employers ofÂ requiring job applicants to hand over their passwords orÂ allow access toÂ their private accounts on social-networking sites in order to gather personal data when the social-networking profiles are closed to the public. States including California,Â Illinois and Maryland passed laws to protect employees from such prying by employers; Maryland’s law includes exemptions for employers for some investigations into possible wrongdoing by employees.
Recently, the New York Times reported thatÂ students are scrubbing their accounts in anticipation ofÂ colleges and universities reviewing the social-media postings of applicants. The social-media searches by colleges and universities have been occurring for several years. Six years ago, education services firm Kaplan surveyed 320 college and university admissions officers and found “one out of ten admissions officers has visited an applicantâ€™s social networking Web site as part of the admissions decision-making process.”Â Read more »