Kraut Will Not Push Itself - New German Law Axes Facebook

This is entirely a new one. A new German law, penned by Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière, will potentially disallow employers from peeking at potential candidates on Facebook and other non-career based social networks. However, googling (and LinkedIn-ing) a candidate is still okay, provided – get this – the employer disregards information that is old, or ‘outside of a candidate’s control’. The idea is to provide greater privacy for employees.

But, okay, let’s think about this for a second. First of all, for the Facebook thing to work, I’d have to accept a friend request from a stranger who hasn’t given me a job yet. Who… who would do that? Do Germans really need a law for this? Are they really that accepting of any and all strangers who come knocking (or, poking, I guess) at their Facebook door? And about the Google thing: what? You expect employers to casually disregard any information that is too old or ‘beyond my control’?

Alright, well, here’s a scenario. I’m Laszlo Van Glockenspiel, and I want to hire a new… I dunno, sales associate, or something. Say I sell sauerkraut. Sauerkraut is big – I need an all-star. This person needs to be totally on point, I’m not looking for just anybody.

So Til Lundgren emails me his resume. He seems like he might have the stuff to push my kraut, but I dunno much about him beyond this PDF file. So, under new Germanic law, I check him out the only way I’m able – a good old Google.de search. What I unearth is pretty shocking – Til is seen in all sorts of compromising party photos, posting wacky and risque comments on forums, and all that stuff people tend to do on the internet. I’m obviously put off by Til’s antics, resume be damned. He just doesn’t seem to be the kind of person I’m looking for.

But wait! These photos and forum posts are no more recent than February of 2006. I have no choice but to… pretend I didn’t see them? What happens now? Do I honestly play dumb and put them out of my mind? Is February 2006 old enough that it falls under the law? This is sauerkraut – there can be no grey areas, here. He’s in or he’s out, and I’m thinking ‘out’.

The point is, I dunno how de Maizière thinks this new law will make any difference. By the sounds of it, he should be spending his time teaching potential candidates not to hit the ‘Confirm’ button on Facebook.

By the way, I apologize for the cheesiest joke Techi’s ever made with an image. Totally my fault.

Written by Ty Dunitz

Ty is an illustrator who stays up too late, and has to wear glasses. You can follow him on Twitter if you want to (@glitchritual), but he's just gonna throw your stupid PR crap in the garbage, so don't email him.
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3 Comments »

 
#1
spudle insider
August 23rd, 2010 at 10:39 am

hummm I cannot see how this law is ever going to make any real difference.

 
 
#2
Ryan
August 23rd, 2010 at 1:19 pm

Depending on the size of the company and industry, it is not unlikely that someone in the hiring chain will have “Friend of friend” level of access, and could request a current employee to show them the profile as a ‘friend’ would see it.

Furthermore, there are lots of vague laws about dismissal with cause, even more so outside the US, and while it is hard to prove violation of those laws, there is precedence for passing them.

I agree with your overall conclusion though. Waste of time.

 
 
#3
Sebastian
September 27th, 2010 at 5:54 am

The real problem is that our (German) politicians don’t really do anything more reasonable besides this proposed law…

And, hey, I don’t really like Sauerkraut :-)

 

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