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New bill to protect social media passwords

By Pauleen Le, ple@wkbt.com
Published On: Apr 19 2013 06:39:29 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 19 2013 06:58:26 PM CDT
LA CROSSE, Wis. -

A new bill being introduced in Madison would make it harder for certain people to request passwords to personal Internet accounts like Facebook and Twitter.

In the age of social media, many companies are checking personal Facebook pages and Twitter accounts of potential employees.

As UW-La Crosse students get closer and closer to finding a job, the information on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter becomes more and more important.

“I've heard that a lot of employers can check out your Facebook and see if there's anything bad on there,” said UW-La Crosse student Nick Frank.

“It's something that you should keep in mind when you're out looking for a job,” said UW-La Crosse student Tyler Amundson.

“Typically, major companies will say it's not part of their recruiting practice,” said Karla Stanek, director of Career Services at UW-L. “However, once it leaves HR, you're not quite sure what the hiring manager is doing.”

Stanek said she's not sure if it would help to protect information on social media sites.

“You're not even quite sure what your friends are going to share with someone,” said Stanek. “So you could have a friend working at an organization, and a hiring person could come up to them and say, ‘You went to UW-La Crosse, are you friends with so-and-so?’”

“If you're putting it out on the Internet, don't assume that it’s going to be private,” said Ryan Hartkopf, head technician of Orange Computer Solutions in La Crosse.

Hartkopf said even without passwords, there are ways to find information on social media accounts, even if it's been deleted.

“If it has been shared or recreated anywhere else on the Internet, then it’s almost impossible to remove it from those websites because you don't have control over the content on those websites,” said Hartkopf.

That means people will still have to think twice before updating their status.

“I never put anything on Facebook that I wouldn't want my grandma to see,” said Amundson.

The bill is currently waiting to be referred to committee.

So far it has bipartisan support from more than 40 co-sponsors.

If the bill passes, Wisconsin would join six other states with the same regulation.

About 28 other states have similar proposals in the works.

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