Bottom line: There is nothing unlawful about an employer requesting that an applicant voluntarily provide a Facebook password. (Check out the site’s policies though – that practice may violate Facebook’s terms and conditions of use.)
However, such practice may open a Pandora’s box of potential liability for employers who proceed without appropriate policies, procedures and safeguards in place. Among a host of other legal concerns, an applicant may claim that he or she was coerced into providing the log-in information in violation of the federal Stored Communications Act or a state law equivalent.
Best practice? Ensuring that policies and procedures are in place, and flexible enough to protect your organization from the pitfalls of social media in the workplace will be critical to defending claims that may arise following the adoption of these types of practices.