Most people in the UK who are members of social media network Facebook would refuse to reveal their account passwords if asked to when applying for a new job, a survey has revealed.

According to the survey, by research organisation Usurv, 91 per cent of respondents said they would not give this information if requested to by a prospective employer.

The survey also found differences in attitudes towards such a request based on the gender and educational level of the respondents.

Specifically, while 94.5 per cent of females questioned said they would object to being forced to hand over their password, this figure dropped to 87.5 per cent among male respondents.

In addition, while 92 per cent of respondents educated to A-level standard said they would refuse to reveal their password, this dropped to 79 per cent among those educated to degree level

The survey was conducted following reports that requesting access to a job applicant’s personal details on Facebook might one day become as much a common practice in the UK as it currently is in the US.

The drive to search for information on candidates’ social media pages has, according to commentators, been based on the general desire among US organisations to find out as much about potential new employees as they can.

However, many members of the public in the US are also understood to have found the principle – of being compelled to reveal personal information held on social media sites – equally unacceptable.

This opposition has even led to some US states introducing – or thinking of introducing – legislation to stop employers asking for access to private social media data.