House kills Facebook password bill — but the controversy wasn’t a big deal, anyway

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As those of you who watch our DT Daily Web show already know, the House of Representatives this week voted against a bill that would have prevented overreaching employers from demanding that job applicants hand over their Facebook passwords. The controversy arose last week, after the Associated Press reported that this troubling practice was becoming a common request of job-seekers. But later reports suggest that the whole thing just got blown out of proportion.

The Hartford Courant reports that the AP article included only a single case in which an employer asked for a Facebook login. The article’s lead writer, Manuel Valdes, sought to find more people who had similar experiences. To do so, he turned to Reddit, where things of this nature pop up all the time. According to the Courant, only about 10 people said they’d been asked to hand over their Facebook credentials. And few of those anecdotes made it into the AP article.

Still, the practice is likely to become popular. Not only did the House consider a amending the Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2012 to stop such requests, Facebook also pulled out the big guns, threatening employers with potential legal action. Of course, the American Civil Liberties Union, and countless concerned rights groups and citizens chimed in to voice their dissatisfaction.

So even though the House failed to make such practices against federal law, it will be difficult for any employer to make such a request without finding their name plastered all over the Web, as an enraged public gathers its torches and pitchforks.