Business news

Facebook opposes password pressure


NEW YORK — Facebook is warning employers not to demand the passwords of job applicants, calling it an invasion of privacy that opens companies to legal liabilities.

The company is also threatening legal action against those who violate its long-standing policy against sharing passwords.

In a post Friday, Face­book’s chief privacy officer of policy cautioned that if an employer gains access to an applicant’s page and discovers they are a member of a protected group, the employer might open itself up to claims of discrimination if it doesn’t hire that person.

“As a user, you shouldn’t be forced to share your private information and communications just to get a job,” Erin Egan wrote.

In other news

SALES OF NEW HOMES fell in February for the second month in a row. The Com­merce Department said Fri­­day that new-home sales dropped 1.6 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 313,000 homes. Sales have fallen nearly 7 percent since Decem­ber. A mild winter and three months of strong job growth have lifted re-sales.

UNEMPLOYMENT RATES in almost all metropolitan areas dropped in January from a year earlier, and a majority were lower than the national rate, the Labor Department said Friday. Jobless rates decreased in 345 of the 372 areas, including Augusta. Decatur, Ala., and Monroe, Mich., dropped the most. Augusta’s rate fell from 9.3 percent in January 2011 to 9.1 percent.