Today in Facebook

Meanwhile, at Ars Technica, John Brodkin has two stories about Facebook:

Facebook says it may sue employers who demand job applicants' passwords: "We’ll take action to protect the privacy and security of our users, whether by engaging policymakers or, where appropriate, by initiating legal action, including by shutting down applications that abuse their privileges."


Facebook is trying to expand its trademark rights over the word "book" by adding the claim to a newly revised version of its "Statement of Rights and Responsibilities," the agreement all users implicitly consent to by using or accessing Facebook.



  1. Apparently also face, poke and wall.

    “After running his hand across the forward aspect of his head, Jim used a stick to gently contact the brick vertical plane. He made of a note of the results in his bound paper wad.”

    At least they’ve only trademarked the F logo and not the letter F itself.

  2. Hah, funny how these stories pop up right after they get FTC protection. The “companies asking for FB passwords” has always struck me as a back-door lobbying prank. The examples given are chiefly government instances, and all of them are old news. Anything relating to “companies” doing this is hidden behind some claptrap and no company names. Shenanigans, but FB will likely get some legislation out of this to add force to their business model.

    Trademark on “book?” I bet they’re angling for greater control over terms that would not be legal to attack, as long as the entity they are restricting is subject to FB contracts/TOUs. That is, FB wants the power to police term usage in FB apps, giving them a kind of sub-legal power over the entities that rely on FB.

  3. FB can bend over backwards trying to improve their image, but I will maintain they can jam their deceptively-designed, evil, evil site up their bloody arses.

  4. I still haven’t been able to figure out why a company would even want a Facebook password. What purpose is there in that?  Additionally, I can’t believe a company would even have the nerve to demand such a thing.  What a-holes really do this?

    1. Beats me.  Reminds me of the day when I stood in front of an American Supermarket, whose signs proudly declared that all personnel were subject to drug tests.  I think I still have the scratch marks on my head.

  5. I may be overly cynical here, but  I think Facebook is against this practice because their own API for easier checks for human resources managers  is still in closed beta. 

  6. Ironically, when I applied at FaceBook, they requested that I submit my application through my FaceBook account.

  7. Under what legal theory would Facebook sue an employer for doing something like this? There’s barely even a legal relationship between Facebook and its users (via the TOS), and what there is boils down to this:

    1. You may never sue us for any reason.
    2. We can cancel your account for any of the following 19,000 reasons, or none at all.

    But that clickwrap stuff surely doesn’t apply to third parties like employers. What exactly would be the claim here? Tortious interference? Any internet lawyers want to play imaginary outside counsel for Facebook?

    1. I believe the implication is that they would sue an employer on behalf of their user(s) for breaking the laws which relate to freedom of association and private communication. As mentioned by others above they would never do this as Facebook sees their users as foolish bags of money and their hard-ass stance is merely to sucker people into thinking they really care – but the idea is that an employer could make themselves liable to litigation if they don’t employ a person and there is credible suspicion that they made that decision based on associations or other factors (sexual orientation, religion, race).

      In any case FB won’t sue anyone unless it will financially benefit the company and this topic has no relevance to that. People should just be telling potential employers that they don’t have a FB account and that they’ll just have to contact their references.

  8. Well, that was the last straw for me. I just deleted my account, and it _eels as though a great burden has been li_ted from me. Now I’m going to relax on the back porch and read a good…three hundred pages of narrative bound together with davey board.

    1. Oh, you told them to print out your Facebook history? (Surely not Google – that would be 3000 pages.)

Comments are closed.