/ Asked by Adriana
Can companies really hack into a person's facebook account?
Answered by Carrie, Hiring Expert at AT&T Inc., on Tuesday, July 31, 2012
The short answer is no. However, I think it's important to note that there has been a lot of press around how employers use Facebook or gain access to employee Facebook accounts, but as with many things in the media, this is usually the extreme example and to that end, is also the exception, not the rule.

To be clear, some of these employers who are getting the bad press aren't actually hacking, but they are requesting employee/job seeker passwords so they can investigate their accounts, or they are requiring an employee friend them, or they are asking employees who are already friends with another employee to let them see what they can see about another employee.  These examples are ALL violations of Facebook terms of service and there are legislators attempting to combat this. In my opinion, it should come with the same consequences as opening up someone's mail, which is a federal offense (ranging from fines to jail time). 

Additionally, responsible employers shouldn't want to see your personal information in the first place in the event it exposes them to learning information about you they could later use to discriminate against you with (such as if you are pregnant, if you are over 40, what your religious preferences are, etc). As employers, we'd rather just not know because we want to consider you for the job based on the what you bring to the table in terms of knowledge, skills, education, experience, etc... and all of those other things should be a non-issue. 

And if you are curious how employers ARE using Facebook? Many of us have a company Facebook page (some that are just about jobs, and some that have a jobs tab on the main page) in which job seekers can find out about the company, can search for jobs, and can even reach out to us with questions during the application process.

Just know that this world of social media is still relatively young and we are all learning together, and unfortunately, some employers - just like job seekers, are making mistakes along the way. And from a job seeker perspective, while it is important to understand you ARE creating a digital footprint that will follow you, you do have privacy options available to you for a reason. You should always be cognizant of the long-term impression you may be making about yourself and if you do post anything that could be considered questionable, especially in terms of applying for certain types of jobs, then make sure you know how to keep that information private - or better yet, just use the rule of thumb that if you don't want your mother to see it, don't post it :)  
Answered by Charisse, Hiring Expert at Textron Inc., on Wednesday, August 1, 2012
The AT&T hiring expert hit on all points to this very controversial subject - very well done.

The guidelines we've set for our recruiters and hiring teams have been very clear that the candidate's resume, application and interview conversations are the primary basis for determining a person's fit for a position.  Once the person has been identified, we may conduct additional professional reference checks with your permission and with those individuals that you have provided that you feel can best portray the value that you would bring to any organization.  We highly encourage all candidates to develop a list of professional references and to have conversations with these references before your interview with a company to make sure they are comfortable being a reference.  You should also let them know a little about the job and the company as well as what specific areas you'd like them to touch on if called for a reference.

That said, a final note specifically to your question.  As we noted before, not all companies and recruiters have strong guidelines against searching for anything and everything they may be able to find out about you.  In this technological  age, it is hard not to be exposed.  Use good judgment on everything you do  -- anything, from Facebook to just getting caught in someone else's pictures may have an impact on aspects of your life you didn't intend to.  Be careful.
Answered by Rodd, Hiring Expert at Gap Inc., on Thursday, August 2, 2012
I agree on the points already made. I'd be surprised if any company would hack into a Facebook account. But keep in mind that recruiters will probably look at what’s public on your page, and could be turned off by crazy party pictures, profanities or questionable jokes. Recruiters use Facebook and other social media to help figure out who you are -- the same way you should be going online and learning about the company.
Answered by Susan, Hiring Expert at Praxair, Inc., on Tuesday, January 8, 2013
No.  However any skilled hacker can get into anything...so it depends where these "hackers' work during the day.
Answered by Kelly, Hiring Expert at Merck & Co., Inc., on Friday, August 23, 2013
Thank you for raising this question. I understand your fears about computer hackers. The easy answer is no, companies are not “hacking” your facebook account. That being said, it’s important for you to set your privacy settings. Universal precaution is always wise. While sourcing for candidates, your profile may come up for recruiters to review.
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