Facebook Users Connect from Work, but Avoid the Boss
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A new F-Secure survey suggests that the most profound privacy concern for users is a fear that online activity could negatively affect employment.
SAN JOSE, Calif., April 22, 2010 – Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg may believe that “the age of privacy is over,” but users of the world’s most popular social networking site are actively concerned about 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 three out of four users have not become friends with their boss via the site. In addition, 77% reported that they actively 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 than 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. Seventy percent said that they have backups of at least some of the photos they’ve shared, compared to the 56% of computer users that said they stored or backed up their digital photos, according to a 2009 F-Secure 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.”
See what the bloggers on F-Secure’s Save and Savvy blog have to say about privacy and online safety at http://safeandsavvy.f-secure.com.
Find the press release here.