Montana Town Stops Asking Applicants for Facebook Logins

23 Giu Montana Town Stops Asking Applicants for Facebook Logins

Wall Street Journal, By Marisa Taylor, June 23, 2009
The city of Bozeman, Mont. ended a controversial policy of requiring municipal job applicants to provide their usernames and passwords for social-networking sites after it sparked widespread criticism. News of the practice spread quickly after local television station KBZK reported it — it said on its Twitter feed that city officials were receiving “an email a minute” last week. In a statement, city manager Chris Kuluski said Bozeman was ending the requirement and apologized “for the negative impact this issue is having on the City of Bozeman.” “The city of Bozeman believes we have a responsibility to ensure candidates hired for positions of public trust are subject to a thorough background check,” he said. “The extent of our regulation for a candidate’s password, username or other Internet information appears to have exceeded that which is acceptable to our community.” While job seekers are often warned that recruiters will be looking at their profiles on Facebook and MySpace, it is far more rare to be asked for a login to those sites by a prospective employer. Bozeman took the idea of social-network monitoring to the extreme, providing a release form that asked job applicants for “any and all current personal or business websites, web pages or memberships on any Internet-based chat rooms, social clubs or forums, to include, but not limited to: Facebook, Google, Yahoo,, etc.” City attorney Greg Sullivan told KBZK that the local government was taking these measures “to make sure the people that we hire have the highest moral character and are a good fit for the city,” but they ran afoul of some sites’ terms. Facebook’s, for example, say “You will not solicit login information or access an account belonging to someone else,” and “You will not share your password, let anyone else access your account, or do anything else that might jeopardize the security of your account.” Bloggers jeered Bozeman’s policy. “I am surprised they don’t require prospective employees to sign a waiver allowing the city to tap their phone,” wrote one, while another said “OK so to work for us you need to give me your online banking account password+username. Don’t worry you can trust us, our Nigerian secretary is a model of discretion.” Another wrote: ” It is my hope that this policy is derived from the utter ignorance of a single person. And once that person is set straight, some sanity will prevail. Of course hope and five cents will at best get you a nickel.”