Many employers conduct professional background checks on potential employees before deciding whether to hire them. However, some employers may also investigate a potential employee's social media profiles, such as a Facebook page. In most cases, an employer can only view your private Facebook page if you allow it.
Facebook is a social networking site that allows users to create profiles and connect with friends and acquaintances. If you create a Facebook profile, you can upload photographs, send public and private messages, publish writings for your friends to read and post status updates about happenings in your personal life. You can also post information about your political affiliations, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, employment history, education and hobbies or interests.
Facebook updates its available privacy settings frequently. At the time of publication, you can customize your privacy settings for each portion of your profile. It is possible to make your profile difficult to find, as well as to hide every portion of it from the public. You can also customize your profile to hide certain posts or images from specific Facebook users, and you can control who you allow to post on your wall or share your information.
While it is possible to make your Facebook page private, some employers may attempt to connect to your profile with a friend request. However, employers can't typically see your private profile if you don't accept the request. At the time of publication, there is no law that prevents employers from refusing to hire you because of information found on your Facebook page, nor is there any law that stops them from discriminating against you if you refuse their friend requests.
If an employer knows an individual who is your friend on Facebook, he may be able to view your private profile with the help of that person. However, if an employer accesses your private profile through fraudulent means, such as hacking, you may be able to file a civil lawsuit against him for invasion of privacy. To prevent problems with potential or current employers, you may consider carefully monitoring the content on your Facebook page.
Amanda McMullen is a freelancer who has been writing professionally since 2010. She holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics and statistics and a second bachelor's degree in integrated mathematics education.