Mar 262012

There has been quite a hubbub lately revolving around news stories reporting that employers are demanding Facebook logins and passwords of prospective employees. It’s not clear whether these reporters are just poking the bear to get more clicks on their stories (speaking of which, free puppy to anyone who clicks on this blog) or if it’s actually a thing. Which, of course, got me thinking about the apartment industry.

Ignoring the fact that it’s probably illegal to ask this information of prospective residents, if you could, would you?

On the one hand, you want to make an informed decision about the people who will be living in your buildings. Wouldn’t you want to know if they were drug dealers or thieves or if they liked Nickelback or something? It would be great to keep these “undesirables” out of an apartment building before they move in and become a liability.

Plus, is the expectation of privacy really an issue here? If someone posts something on the world wide web, then anyone who is on the Internet can find it (the emphasis is on “world wide”).

On the other hand, though, how much about a resident do you really need, or want, to know? As long as their rent comes in on time, what more could you want? If they leave the place a mess when the move out, well, that’s why security deposits were invented, am I right?

And, really, what could you learn about a resident by having his login and password? Couldn’t you just look at the profile anyway? If not for being able to stalk people without their knowledge, then how would any of us know what our high school boyfriends are doing now? If the profile is set to private, well then there’s this little thing you could try called “Googling.”

Anyway, if you were legally allowed to ask for personal login information for social media sites from prospective residents, would you want it? And what would you look for?

-Jessica Fiur, News Editor


  2 Responses to “‘What Renters Want’ with Jessica Fiur: Would You Want Prospective Residents’ Facebook Info?”

  1. You can gain a tremendous amount of info on a tenant just by putting in their email on Facebook. You don’t need their permission to do this. Whatever is public to the world will be accessible to you. It helps to make sure you have the right person and sometimes, you can gain some valueable info on them.

  2. First, I don’t want anyone’s password and login for anything. That is beyond the scope of reason. If I really want to see what is on your FB page and cannot get at it, I suppose I could request that you “friend” me so I can see your profile.

    Second, I really doubt that your FB page is going to reveal anything that will disqualify you as a renter that I wouldn’t find more definitively in a criminal background check: are you a drug dealer, a rapist, or a pedophile?

    Although I find it hard to believe people would be stupid enough to put that kind of information on their FB page, I suppose it is possible. However, I believe those who would be that stupid will likely already have convictions or arrests on their record that will tell the story too.

    I suspect you are right – stories of potential employers demanding FB passwords and logins are probably just fabrications. Employers are pretty strictly regulated about what they can ask too.

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