The Other Side of Business Facebook

The Other Side of Business Facebook

Sharply contested and debated is the concern over organizations asking for Facebook passwords during job interviews. If you haven’t read about this, you’re probably not in the business world. If so, you can read about it here:

I’m not going to weigh in on that conversation as much as I’m going to talk about solutions for both parties.

1. For the Facebook User

I have long counseled my friends and family about the security problems, holes and risks of using Facebook. It’s a fantastic tool for keeping in touch with family and friends, but also a powerful tool for predators and now businesses. To demonstrate how easy it was for predators to use the site, I ran a quick demonstration to my close friend. I will keep it vague on purpose.

My friend has a sixteen-year-old daughter; just started to date and definitely into boys. I created a Facebook account of a decent-looking 16-year old boy. I found her account on Facebook and, without trying much, got her to friend me. That opened up a world of information almost instantly. I knew her birthday (immediately), and I also knew what High School she attended (saw it in her pictures) [Location] but even better, I knew when she picked up her sister from elementary sister [Better Location]; and she had a picture of the two of them together. Not long after, I waited outside of the elementary school until she found her sister, and then I followed the two home, proving how easy it was to identify criminal opportunities.

It took me all a matter of five minutes to have more than enough information to prey on that family. Now, this was only an example, to show her and her parents how unsecure Facebook can be if you’re not careful.

How does this help you in the business world? Here are your options / advice:

  • Don’t have a Facebook Account — probably too late.
  • Have 2 Facebook accounts — Use one for family and friends, and the other for business. Don’t get the two confused! Do NOT friend family and friends on your business account. Do NOT friend business colleagues on your personal account.
  • Don’t put your real birthday in – Your friends know your birthday. Your Birthday is just one of two needed bits of information to access all your goodies, keep it away from predators. I set mine to January 1.
  • When your interviewing business asks to see your Facebook page, give them your business one. Keep it up to date once a week, and keep it professional (i.e., no naughty pictures, bad posts, etc.). Like some companies, post some business tweets, etc.

2. For the Facebook Organization

I understand your desire to be protected on all accounts. I also understand your desire to know everything possible about your candidate. But asking for someone’s password is not only wrong, it’s a liability danger to your organization. Unfortunately, a lot of people do not differentiate their Facebook password from their bank account. If you have access to their passwords, who’s to stop your employee (i.e., the interviewer) from using that password to access personal information about the interviewee? Even if it’s different from their bank information, it’s probably the same as their email, which is sitting on their resume. And now, you’ve given access to very personal information to an employee. A road you don’t want to travel down!

But, in a world where social media is taking over traditional marketing as we know it – and in a world where every employee is a brand icon for your business – how do you protect your business? You do it, after they are hired with appropriate policies and technology.

How does a business protect themselves from Facebook employees? Try a few of these:

  • Total Messaging Capture – Companies like the one I work for (GWAVA) are building messaging platforms that will capture all web traffic through your business. It’s your network, and therefore your right and duty [liability] to capture all messages and communications – email, Facebook, Twitter, SharePoint, Office365, LiveOffice, etc. You’re responsible for your message and what gets sent out from your network. Protect yourself.
  • Policy – Not going to go into depth on this blog (see future blogs), but write a good policy regarding IM & social media usage. Make sure employees are aware and are acting in good faith to that policy. Have a good policy that enables your employees to be successful at work and be good marketing icons.
  • BYOD – Keep track of trends. Trending now is the BYOD concern. Industry experts will teach you best practices; and again, companies like GWAVA will protect as many devices possible.
  • Education – Teach your employees about how to best use Facebook, teach them the security holes, and to be wise about their Internet usage. Instead of looking like the enemy, help elevate your employees. Imagine the content and power behind a force of 50 or 100 employees messaging about your new products, features and benefits!

By David Przybyla

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