Reginald Scott Braithwaite resignation letter goes viral, found to be fake

Daily Buzz

A blogger's letter in which he resigns from his company because of their intrusive social media practices has gone viral, and not everyone has clued in to the fact it isn't real.

Reginald Scott Braithwaite posted a letter to his blog on April 2 in which it appeared he was quitting from his role as Director of Software Development from an unmentioned company because they required him to browse potential employees' Facebook profiles.

In the letter, Braithwaite describes how he sat down with an interviewee and began looking through her profile after she logged in for him willingly. When he noticed she was typing something on her iPad while he browsed, he asked what she was doing. She explained that he would see by reading her profile that she was a lesbian, so she was contacting a human rights lawyer in the event that she wasn't hired based on thatfact, or if she was hired and not compensated the same as her male and/or heterosexual peers.

Braithwaite explains another fictitious incident in the letter, detailing how he interviewed a young man who also willingly gave him his Facebook login, but said he would pursue legal action if he wasn't hired based on his intention to take paternal leave.

The issue of employers demanding to see a candidate's Facebook page before hiring them has been a highly charged issue as of recent, fueling interest in Braithwaite's situation, especially because it wasn't made immediately clear in the initial post that the letter was, in Braithwaite's own words, only a "prediction" of what is likely to happen.

Users at Hacker News and Reddit were quick to share the letter, and while some realized quickly that the letter was a fake, others didn't pick up on the "clues" Braithwaite says he left in the letter. His original blogpost (which now includes a disclaimer) has been viewed over 400,000 times since he posted it on Monday, and has been shared on Twitter over 2,000 times.

What should have clued in more people to the letter being a work of fiction is his mention of Ontario. It isn't clear if the Ontario mentioned in the letter is in fact Ontario, Canada or Ontario, California, but if it is referencing the province, it all but confirms the letter as false. Labour laws in Canada are much more stringent than the U.S., and jobseekers are protected from having their privacy invaded by their potential employers. Companies are still free to look up their candidates online, but there are legal limits to what they can see if a candidate chooses to make their Facebook profile private.

Facebook warned employers shortly after the invasive practice became public that they shouldn't be asking candidates for their passwords. By handing out their passwords, the candidate is actually violating Facebook's terms of service and could have their account deleted.