California Social Media Privacy Law

on May 18, 2012
Social Media Privacy Law is in effect as of January 1, 2013.

Called the "Facebook Password Law," the legislation now bans employers from asking job seekers and workers for user names and passwords on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networking websites.AB 1844 was sponsored by Assemblywoman Nora Campos (D-San Jose), and the new law makes anything that's private on Facebook and other social networks none of employers' business.

Assemblywoman Campos said there were too few social media privacy laws to protect employees, as employers had previously used social media to get answers to illegal questions that are banned from job applications.

Assembly Bill 1844 stops California employers from checking social sites for protected data to screen job applicants and spy on employees. The legislation targets data deemed private in users' account settings.

As defined in the legislation, "social media" means an electronic medium where users create and view user-generated content, including uploading or downloading videos or photos, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, or instant messages.

The new Social Media Privacy Law makes it illegal to ask private-sector employees or job applicants for access to their social networking accounts in California, a state where privacy provisions are written into the Constitution.

Other states and the federal government are following suit, drafting their own legislation addressing employer requests for social media passwords.

The California Social Media Privacy Law is now in effect.