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Astonishing number of people admit accessing Facebook accounts of their friends

Posted January 31, 2017

Media is constantly telling us to be careful with our passwords and social media accounts. There are many people in the world that would shamelessly use them for their advantage and could even blackmail us after getting some very personal images. But do you know who is most likely to take an inside look into your account without your permission? A new study from University of British Columbia says it is actually your friends.

Because many people leave their accounts logged in, others can easily access them for pranking or spying purposes. Image credit: Vít Luštinec, Wikipedia, Public Domain

Would you secretly go into your friend’s social media accounts? If you said ‘Yes’, you are not alone – this research revealed that even 24 % of people had accessed their friends’ Facebook accounts without permission. Actually, not just friends’, but romantic partners and family members are also in danger of such privacy violation. So, one could think that 24 % of people have some hacking skills? Well, not exactly. Many users of social networks are not careful with their close ones and simply leave computers or, more often, smartphones with Facebook account already logged in.

And so, a, let’s say, a curious person just takes the device and snoops around the account, messages and so on. 1,308 U.S. adult Facebook users were surveyed for the research and many of them were not ashamed to admit they did take a look at someone else’s private accounts without permission. However, while many cases were fuelled by curiosity or even distrust, some of them were actually pranks. Friends got into someone’s Facebook account in order to set victim’s status or profile picture to something humorous. It is not a pleasant thing to experience, but it is still much better than being spied because someone is jealous.

Obviously, people are spying their romantic partners because they are feeling something bad happening or just want to check if they are loyal. Kosta Beznosov, senior author of the study, explained: “Jealous snoops generally plan their action and focus on personal messages, accessing the account for 15 minutes or longer. And the consequences are significant: in many cases, snooping effectively ended the relationship”. Are there any good ways of preventing “spies” from entering your account? Not really.

The problem is that people simply leave their devices with social media accounts logged in. In this case, passwords or PIN’s are simply not relevant. People, who want to ensure security of their private information should always log out of their Facebook profiles and, more importantly, have less snoopy friends.


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