Most managers want to see employees’ Facebook profiles

Managers think they have a right to see what employees are doing on social networking sites, while employees say it’s none of the boss’s business. What are your managers doing?

More than half (53%) of employees say their managers shouldn’t be able to view what they put on Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites, according to a recent survey by Deloitte. For workers 18-34 years old, that number jumps to 63%.

But most managers disagree — 60% say they deserve to know what their reports do online. The main reason: Monitoring and protecting the company’s reputation. Social networking gives users a chance to make details of their lives public — and work is a heavily discussed topic. Browse any Facebook profile or Twitter account, and odds are you’ll find something about the person’s job.

Managers might have a real cause for concern: One-third of employees admit that they never consider how their employer will be affected when they post material online. Almost 75% admit that social networking sites make employers more vulnerable to damaged reputations.

What do you think — do supervisors have the right to check out employees’ online personalities? Do managers at your company search for folks on the Web? Let us know in the comments section below.

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  1. I’d say managers have a need, but no actual rights. I’m not sure they could create a retroactive policy either that would say “from this date going forward, no employees shall be on facebook etc.” and make everyone sign in it either.

    That said, I don’t know who’s brave enough to ignore their boss’s friend request if their boss gets on Facebook. Employees should make their profiles private and only let their friends see what they’re saying; likewise they should have enough sense not to bash their employer in a forum that could be made available to others; likewise I think lawsuits are way over-reacting. Employers have the right to monitor their brand reputation, but no one has the right to an unsullied reputation. What’s called for is greater openness and communication, not legal action.

    Yes, there will be exceptions to that, but I think one’s first reaction is often the wrong reaction in situations like this. It’s like people who want to see movies/books banned: they attract more attention to what they want to disappear by their reactions than if they did nothing at all.

  2. I think that if they have their profiles set to where the public can view it then the managers have every right to “view” it. Whether or not they have the right to “act” upon anything posted there is another story. You have the ability, I believe, to make your profile private and no one can see it unless you give them access to do so. If you don’t want prying eyes to see what you have to say, then make it private. Otherwise it is like any other public site that people, anyone and everyone, can view.

  3. A guy that I know took a job as a police officer with the county Sheriff’s Dept. He was told to delete his Facebook and MySpace accounts if he wanted to keep his job. I notice he is back on Facebook and he commented “I hope they don’t catch me”. I guess the job isn’t what he was expecting!

  4. I believe it has everything to do with your policies. Does your company have an ethics policy? If you do and someone within your organization violates that policy then it is actionable. I strongly believe in ethics policies for all supervisory and mangerial positions. We each have a responsibility to protect the reputation of our perspecitive companies.

  5. I’m amazed that just over half of *employees* say their managers shouldn’t know what they’re posting on fb etc, especially not even 2/3 of younger employees. Were these government employees that assume they’ve forfeited their privacy?

    Sure an employer can and in some cases should find what they can about their employees online, but requiring them to share it just means that profile will die off while a new one take it’s place.

  6. Michelle says:

    I am a firm believer that you represent your company on & off the clock – the 2nd someone knows where you work – therefore, don’t post on your social network, what you wouldn’t say to their face.

    I do believe that a company does not have a right to dictate to their staff that they should be allowed to look at their personal social network. That is like saying, let me read your yahoo, msn, etc personal email.

  7. Michael McDonald says:

    What a person does and say’s outside the job is of no concern of the company they work for. If the company is not up front with it’s employee’s, always lying to them, so be it. Anybody has the right to post what he or she wants on the internet, but you have to be really stupid to post something that your boss will see. Now about giving the employer your login name, etc., that violates individual freedoms and should not be a condition of employment, or otherwise. What you do in your personal life is yours, that’s why it is personal. Now if the company paid you 24/7/365, they you need to be on you best behavior.
    There was a city HR manager who made a condition of employment, that the individual provide his/hers login name and password. Boy, that hit the newspapers and within 48 hours, the city mayor changed the policy.

  8. If a person goes on facebook, twitter, etc. and shares their personal views regarding their work, I believe it their right to do so. However, I don’t believe that managers should consider what an employee writes about them as part of work. Unless, it was written while the employee was on company time.

  9. If people choose to put their information in a public forum, then anyone has the right to view and judge for themselves. If you want that information kept private, why would you put it on Facebook, Twitter etc.?

  10. This is an interesting article that discusses employee rights to discuss work conditions:

    Labor pains for union-free employers: don’t be caught unaware of nonunion employees’ labor law rights
    HR Magazine , March, 2004 by Jonathan A. Segal;col1

    Employer should tread cautiously when implementing policies so as not to run afoul of the NLRA, the NLRB implementation of this law, and various court rulings that support free speech of employees discussing work conditions.

  11. I’m amazed that the people who use Face Book don’t realize that once it enters cyberspace it can show up anywhere. “Hey Tom, did you read what Bill said about his boss? He said…” on someone else’s page can get back to Bill’s boss. People have a right to (and should) sound off to friends and whomever about their work lives (barring contracts, etc.) and should also be prepared to take the consequences for that. If you wouldn’t say it to their faces and wouldn’t want it brought up out of context in court, keep it to yourself. As far as manager’s “rights” to see the public postings, I’d parallel that with criminal background checks. Public knowledge is public knowledge. Should management make employees aware that they MAY look? If there’s a valid busines reason for looking, I say sure. If there is no valid business reason (provable in court), I say no.

  12. I personal think it is none of their business and should not affect anything at work if your employer is so parniod and into spying that after you have already landed the job they don’t base things on how your job performance at work and feel the need to check out your facebook all the time. Well you would thing they would have better things to do. Even before you have landed the job if your qualifed unless your breaking the law or have nude pictures on there it should not matter.

  13. I can not believe what I am hearing. How is FB different then the phone, or the pub, or anyplace else people talk about work? Sure, showing up drunk with the company t-shirt is one thing, blasting on your FB while having the company logo is one thing. But to even think that one’s right to speak can be limited by their company is insane!!

    Hey, Mr. Company man. If your company is a good place to work, then you have no worries. If not, then I would want to know what people are saying so I can make my company better!!

    Again, if you are acting in anyway while at a company function or displaying the company brand, then the company has a right to interject as that is a representation of the company without their consent. My blog, FB, or Twitter is just that, mine!!

    Ok, I’m done… :)

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