Over at Business Week, I take the “con” side of the question: “When considering job applicants, prospective employers have no business poking around their profiles on social networking sites.” My conclusion:
the bottom line is that a public Facebook page is just that: public. People are responsible for what they post. It’s unreasonable to make personal information available to the whole world and not expect employers to look at it.
Facebook gives users the option of keeping their profiles private, and so does blogging software such as LiveJournal. Users should take advantage of these options for information they don’t want considered by potential employers. But if applicants choose to make information about themselves available to the world, they can hardly object when employers take that information into account in hiring decisions.
My worthy opponent, Greg Fish, seems to have interpreted the question in a slightly strange way. If the question had been “should employers take inaccurate or irrelevant information into account in hiring decisions,” I’d obviously agree with him. But the solution is to take online information with a grain of salt, not to avoid looking at it altogether.