Friday, April 10, 2009

Using Facebook as Employment Prescreening Tool

This is one of those topics that seems to straddle legal/ethical/practical lines with employer/employee relations and practices and depending on which side of the fence you sit, you undoubtedly have your own view of the practice.

From the blog Mashable (which we highly recommend if you are at all interested in social media developments) comes this post: NFL Scouts Wants NFL Prospects ASL on Facebook. The post is a synopsis of a Yahoo Sports report that outlines how NFL teams are setting up fake Facebook accounts (appearing as attractive women) and then asking to become friends with college players/prospects. Once they are accepted as a friend, they then have access to all kinds of personal information including potentially embarrassing photos, links and friends/connections.

The NFL draft is a huge financial gamble for teams. First and 2nd round draft picks typically receive multi-million dollar guaranteed contracts. It is hard to blame a team (as a potential employer) for doing as much due dilligence as possible before committing to a potential prospect. Yet if you are a young player, how would you feel if you found out your potential (or actual) employer/team used this tactic to access what you thought was your private life?

It is likely only a matter of time before this practice spreads even further into the private sector and companies begin employing similar measures with prospective employees. How long will it take before this practice is legally challenged?


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