Should employers be banned from using social networking sites for recruitment?

There are some serious ethical issues involved in searching for extra information on current and prospective employees.

However, before the arrival of Web 2.0, such activities were probably rare and aimed at elite employees.

In today's Times there is a story about some children's charities who are urging ministers to make it illegal for employers to 'trawl' though social networking sites, such as Facebook.

More details:

They say that employers and educational establishments are known to be browsing the internet looking for “digital dirt” on young people who have applied for positions.

The eight charities acted partly in response to a report in The Times that revealed one in five employers used the internet to check on candidates, and two thirds of those who did said that their decisions were influenced by what they found.

At the very least we may get some changes made to data protection law, as a way of making employers seek permission to access online data in the same way that they get permission to approach referees.

It's unlikely to work very well, yet we may end up with a better situation than one we have now.

See Plea to ban employers trawling Facebook by Rosemary Bennett.

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