A state Senate committee voted down a bill that would allow employers responsible for the care of minors to require access to their employees' social media accounts. The House previously passed the legislation 91-1.

House Bill 1087, sponsored by Rep. Nate Bell, R-Mena, failed on a roll call vote after voting twice by voice.

Sam Torn, owner of Camp Ozark in Montgomery County, spoke in favor of the bill and said performing social media background checks on potential employees would help catch any red flags other pre-employment checks would not, said Arkansas Online.

The camp hires about 650 college students in the summer, Torn said, and this would allow them to require these young adults to become their friend on Facebook to check for child predator warning signs that the students could exhibit on social media.

To address concerns, the bill has been amended to say "an entity responsible for the care and supervision of minors, including schools, daycares, summer camps, and other similar programs" would be exempt from the current law, which prohibits employers from requiring employees to add them as a contact on any social media site.

The bill also states that this exemption would only apply to adult employees and employers could still not request a username and password or require the employee to change their privacy settings on a social network, said Arkansas Online.


Will Castleberry with Facebook spoke against the bill, said Arkansas Online, saying that the social networking site admires wanting to protect children from predators but that they have concerns about privacy rights being violated.

"We should be able to choose what groups we belong to and speak to and should be able to keep those associations private and not give them up to our employer," Castleberry said.

Read more: http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2015/mar/25/social-media-access-employers-falls-senate-committ/