7 Corrections Officer Candidates Rejected Because of Social Media

By Alexis C. Madrigal

In February, we reported on the case of a Maryland man who was asked for his Facebook login by his potential employer, the state's department of corrections. Shortly after the story broke, the corrections department decided to suspend its social media policy for job candidates and undertake a 45-day review of their process.

Today, we called the department to check up on how things had gone. It turns out, they did a complete review of all of their applicants from the last year, 2,689 people in all. They came back with some interesting statistics on the role of social media like Facebook in their hiring process. Here are the two facts from the review that stood out to me:

  • Social media played some role in denying the applications of seven job-seekers, but only one was refused "solely due to social media content." That candidate was denied employment because one of his social media accounts had photos of the person in question flashing "verified gang signs."

  • 80 applicants were offered jobs in the last three hiring cycles. Of those, five chose not to share social media information. The Department says that it saw no evidence that "an applicant's refusal to share social media information had a negative impact on the applicant's chances of employment."

The Department of Corrections did make two key concessions, as well. They will not ask job candidates for their social media login or password information and they will make sure applicants know that such checks are voluntary. It's unclear if that will be enough to satisfy the American Civil Liberties Union, which first drew attention to the case and cheered the suspension of the department's social media policy.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2011/04/7-corrections-officer-candidates-rejected-because-of-social-media/236908/