Social media privacy bill aims to keep passwords from employers

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Photos of a fun weekend, messages with friends, and access to personal videos.  They are all things you can keep private on Facebook unless your boss has your password. A handful of Charleston lawmakers don't "like" that and are trying to protect people's privacy.

Imagine sitting down for a job interview with your resume in hand feeling confident and composed. When all of the sudden, a potential employer asks for your facebook password.

"Are you kidding me?" said John Hammonds.

Fred Cooper said he "would probably get up and walk out."

Sharon McDonald thinks, "It's an invasion of privacy and they don't have the right."

According to South Carolina House Representative Wendell Gilliard, it's already happening here in South Carolina.

Gilliard says he's taken calls telling him possible employers have asked people for their social media passwords to make sure the candidate is hirable.

"What are they going to ask next? How many dogs I have in my house? What kind of underwear I'm wearing?" said Gilliard.

It's the idea of keeping people's private life, private, that spurred the lawmaker to present a bill preventing the practice from happening at job interviews and beyond.

"If I go on social media and I hit that little block that says private, well, it's private at that point," said Gilliard.

Live 5 News went to source of the issue to ask our followers on Facebook what they think.

Candace wrote, "I think it's a total invasion of privacy. You are hiring a person for their professional skills. They are there to work for you, not for you to micro manage their every detail."

Brenda agrees, "I wouldn't work for someone who insisted I hand over my facebook password. Sounds like a bully maneuver."

On the house floor, Gilliard says its just a matter of staying in front of the curve.

"As technology changes, laws have to change," he said.

Gilliard says the bill is also being talked about in 10 other states.

A week ago, Maryland became the first state to ban employers from asking for access to your facebook or twitter pages.

The Justice Department and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission have also been called on to investigate whether asking for your password is a violation of federal law.

Right now, in South Carolina, the bill is being taken to a house sub-committee for a vote.

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