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Facebook warning to employers: Don't demand workers' passwords

An Associated Press story this week documented cases of job applicants who are being asked, at the interview table, to reveal their Facebook passwords so their prospective employers can check their backgrounds.

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Robert Collins of Baltimore poses for a photo Friday, March 16, 2012 at Cylburn Arboretum in Baltimore. When Collins returned from a leave of absence from his job as a security guard with the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services in 2010, he was asked for his Facebook login and password during a reinstatement interview, purportedly so the agency could check for any gang affiliations.

Steve Ruark/AP

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Facebook is warning employers not to demand the passwords of job applicants, saying that it's an invasion of privacy that opens companies to legal liabilities.

The social networking company is also threatening legal action.

An Associated Press story this week documented cases of job applicants who are being asked, at the interview table, to reveal their Facebook passwords so their prospective employers can check their backgrounds.

In a post on Friday, Facebook's chief privacy officer cautions that if an employer discovers that a job applicant is a member of a protected group, the employer may open itself up to claims of discrimination if it doesn't hire that person.

"If you are a Facebook user, you should never have to share your password," Erin Egan wrote.

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