NBC4 Investigates: Protecting Your Privacy On Social Media - NBC4: Columbus, Ohio News, Weather, and Sports (WCMH-TV)

NBC4 Investigates: Protecting Your Privacy On Social Media

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -

NBC4 received a large response from many viewers who were shocked by Colleen Marshall's report on what your employer – or prospective employer – can learn if they ask for your personal password.

It's a practice that is currently legal in the State of Ohio.

If you are in the market for a job, your prospective employer will likely check out your online profile, which is a legitimate screening tool.

Attorney Sara Jodka says what you say and do online tells employers a lot about your character. "Does this person engage in hate speech? Does this person engage in criminal activity? The illicit use of drugs? Is this person putting pictures of them smoking a bong on their Facebook page? Well that's illegal in most states so that's something you can use."

Six states have already made it illegal for employers to ask for a prospective employee's password, which would give them access to your hidden – and even deleted – information: California, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan and New Jersey.

New York Congressman Elliot Engel and Ohio Senator Eric Kerney are now pushing a bill sponsored by Senator Charleta Tavares on Capitol Hill that would outlaw the practice in every state.

On February 19, NBC4's Colleen Marshall showed you just how much your password and Facebook profile can reveal. Colleen uncovered every wall post and private message our volunteer ever put on her Facebook account since she first signed up in 2007.

"They're all mine and I thought they were all private. Oops! There are some really private things here," said our volunteer, Barb.

Experts recommend everyone take the time to see what is hidden on your personal Facebook account; and if what you find makes you cringe, it should also make you change your ways. They say they best way to protect your privacy is to not post any unsavory, embarrassing, or private parts of your life online.

Sen. Kerneyis also advising Ohioans to get behind the privacy act.

"We're going out and we're talking to all of our republican colleagues to see if they have any input or any changes they would like. We're also going out to the public and seeing what the public would like to do. Are there people who would like certain changes in the bill? Is there a way to strengthen the bill? If people are supportive of the bill we're asking them to communicate them to their senator or their representative," said Sen. Kerney.

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