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New Bill Aims to Protect Social Media Privacy
Written by Matthew Baumgarten
Last updated on March 16, 2016 @ 12:08AM
Created on March 15, 2016 @ 7:14PM

A new bill has passed the legislature that aims to protect your privacy on social media. House bill 4364 would no longer allow employers to access your accounts on sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Delegate Stephen Skinner, a sponsor of the bill, says he was hearing stories of employers requiring candidates or other workers to provide their social media passwords. If the bill is signed by Governor Tomblin, that would become illegal.

"I did some research in West Virginia, and discovered that, really, employees don't have any protection over their social media accounts from their work. And, I thought it was really important that we draw a line in West Virginia. Both for employers and for employees," says Skinner.

But, employers would have a right to monitor social media use in the office, and on any devices payed for by the company. Technology experts say giving out your password may cause more problems than you might think.

"A lot of times people will take their password and they'll use the same password across their email, across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, everything. So, if you share your password, you're really exposing yourself to every platform that you use."

Media Psychology Experts say we're just now starting to draw the line of what's acceptable in terms of how social media is used in the workplace.

"I think the question about whether or not it's acceptable and it would be considered something that's normal, to check your personal email while you're at work, is a very different question than whether or not it's considered stealing from a company or not."

Some of you say employers having access to your social media accounts is an invasion of privacy.

"I don't think that they should be allowed to invade your privacy like that. I don't think an employer should be able to go on there and see everything. I don't understand why they would want to anyway."

Others say, if you don't want you posts to come back to haunt you, don't publish them to begin with.

"I think it's perfectly fine. If they're on social media they know that it's public knowledge, and everybody else in the world sees it, so why not their employer?"

The bill was previously introduced 2 times before it was finally approved.


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