Employers can still find deleted photos

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Bill Radke: The city of Bozeman, Mont. raised eyebrows last week when it asked job applicants to hand over their user names and passwords for Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and other sites. City officials said it's not mandatory, we're just asking -- if you don't want to share the information, that's OK. Privacy advocates were not reassured. Marketplace's Jeff Tyler says workers should not be surprised.

Jeff Tyler: Do you really want a prospective employer to know that:

YouTube Clip: I've been having some medical problems.

That's from a YouTube video by a resident of Bozeman, Mont., who also shares:

YouTube Clip: I sleep naked. And I'm naked a lot.

Giving an employer the password to your social networking accounts may seem crazy, but employers may be able to delve into your online life without your help.

Jeremiah Owyang: Job candidates should expect that recruiters and hiring managers are looking at their social networking profile -- often before they even contact them for an interview.

That's Jeremiah Owyang, a social computing analyst with Forrester Research.

Owyang: Even if you remove content later, such as those party pictures from last Saturday night in Facebook, you can't guarantee just because you turn them off that the content is still gone.

He says digital ghosts of photos or Web pages can survive online for years -- even after you delete them from your machine.

I'm Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeff Tyler is a reporter for Marketplace’s Los Angeles bureau, where he reports on issues related to immigration and Latin America.
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i have a pic of jack ass 3d ticket that was posted on my photo album called "Wall Photos" on or about 10/16/10 with a couple of comments, do u think you can bring this deleted photo back with comments? i appreciate your assistance to this matter. thanks, cyn

Yes! It is an interesting subject. Actually, I have a question. My niece is doing her PhD in one of the universities in the USA. Also, she was working until of a couple of weeks as a Business Manager in one of a firms. Now, she said at home, that it was a general lay off. She is a good girl from a very rigidly good home. To my astonishment, I saw some less than a modest pictures of herself she posted on a Facebook. I am now suspect that it may be a reason she is unemployed now. It seems to me, she does not get it, because, she posted a new pictures of herself of a new wild party. I can not tell it to her parents. In fact, they are so "good" they are too good for talking with me and it is all ready an old story of about last ten years. I can not talk to her, who am I? she is barely knows me, I am some an obscure Aunt for her, who is trying to "nose" into not her business! I am still, worry about this beautiful naive girl, who is my relative. I know, she does it in order to rebel against her Father ( may be, I would do the same if I would be on her place) but what she does is soooo stupid! Also, I do not want her to know, that I am the one who KNOWS everything about her.
What you would do on my place?

What kind of malarky is this? I agree that our employers probably CAN get into our Facebook etc but I usually "tell on myself" by the address line at the top. But they still ought not do that. What business is it of theirs? They can contact the colleges and universities to verify degrees.

The cost of a bad hire is staggering and long lasting. I have been vetting candidates for my clients for over a decade. I verify degrees for all candidates. Even with the advent of the Internet, I still employ a Private Investigator for complete background checks. Checking social networking sites is yet one more piece of information. The goal is to have a good fit between the employer and the new employee.

This is a tricky subject but I think privacy advocates are correct to worry. When we as a soceity begin to rationalize what belongs in the public vs private domain we descend that slippery slope.

New technology is making it increasingly easier to publish images and video of others as well as ourselves while simultaneously making it increasingly harder for one to control what might get published. So while I may have an image or video of myself floating around somewhere on facebook, mysapce or youtube I may not have been the one to post it. In fact I may not even know of its existence!

Just as it would be wise to err on the side of caution, I think it would be wise to err on the side of privacy and leave the 'shades of grey' for a different topic.

Privacy should be universally respected and regardless of what may already be available in the public domain it should not give anyone the right to intrude further.

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