Friday, March 30, 2012

I'm Calling BS on Facebook Story

The BS meter went to 11 this week over the Associated Press story regarding job applicants being asked to give up their Facebook passwords to interviewers.

Not that I don't know for a fact that Fortune 500 companies and major universities screen applicants and vet finalists based on social profiles.


Who is Justin Bassett, and how did this one person become the face of the AP story?

No small coincidence that a quick google reveals 160,000 hits, leading with, shocking, Justin Bassett's Facebook page? And in the last week, roughly 3,300 news stories about his experience.

More in a minute.

That it happens is not the question. Why it has risen to the level of Congressional inquiry is?

No coincidence that Facebook chimed in to tell employers not to do that, but in large part because that's bad internet security to ask for passwords.

Notice, they didn't say the snooping was bad. That would mean the world's greatest data mining and information gathering machine would have to admit that its very core premise was wrong.

Meanwhile, back to Justin. My curiosity is from the PR professional point of view. How did the AP reporters happen upon his compelling story? Is it coincidence that something that would cause people to rethink their social profile material is going mainstream during the time between Facebook's public filing and the actual sale of shares?

Viral needs a host, and that host is the growing concern among the general public that we have given up too much of our privacy.

Guess what kids? Too late.

We did it to ourselves, and unless we can convince a rising generation of young adults there is something wrong with the honest of open lives, the chance of reversing into some European style privacy laws for on-line content is zero. Who watches the watchmen? You have to find enough people who care.

Perhaps that is the real motivation behind this story.

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