Facebook users connect from work, but avoid the boss
A majority of Facebook users say that they connect to the social networking site from work, but 73% have not “friended” their boss. A new F-Secure survey suggests that the most profound privacy concern for users is a fear that online activity could negatively affect employment.
Helsinki, Finland – April 22, 2010: Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg may believe that “the age of privacy is over,” but users of world’s most popular social networking site are actively concerned with protecting their privacy — especially from their employers.
According to an international survey of Facebook users*, 58% reported that they use the site at least occasionally while at work. However, nearly 3 out of 4 users have not become friends with their boss via the site. And 77% report that they use the privacy settings of the site actively.
Sean Sullivan, F-Secure Security Advisor, says, “We’re finding that Facebook users are more privacy savvy that some experts assume. As Facebook moves to make more and more information public, its users seem to be increasingly aware that their privacy control is at stake.”
Effectively managing an online presence is crucial for jobseekers. Depending on the country, employers have been using Google to vet job candidates for years and screening of social networking profiles is now a standard practice for many recruiters and hiring managers.
Employees around the globe — including military officials — have also been reprimanded for publicly inappropriate or offensive postings made on the world’s most popular social network.
According to Sullivan, “35% of users we surveyed said that they’ve posted something on Facebook that they later regretted. Facebook users have to be aware that anything they post on the site — whether privacy protected or not — could easily become public. A safe guideline is ‘To look before you leap. If full disclosure, accidentally or otherwise, would be considered a disaster, don't upload it.’”
Facebook users also seem to be careful when it comes to backing up the photos they post on the site. 70% said that they have backups of at least some of the photos they’ve shared, compared to the 56% of computer users F-Secure found stored or backed up their digital photos in a 2009 survey.
“Facebook is a free service,” Sullivan says, “but we ‘pay’ by viewing advertising and making our lives into content that can be searched, shared and monetized. Users are willing to make a bargain, but they are also demanding Facebook for more control over what they share and with whom.”
The women of F-Secure write about privacy and online safety on the Safe and Savvy blog http://safeandsavvy.f-secure.com. To join an ongoing conversation about these issues
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The F-Secure Lab’s blog can be read at www.f-secure.com/weblog
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*The survey was carried out by F-Secure via SurveyGizmo during January, February and March of 2010. 450 participants were solicited from around the globe through Facebook, Twitter and social bookmarking sites like Stumbleupon. F-Secure asked respondents a series of questions about how they used Facebook on a daily basis.
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