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Society
Concerned your social media accounts will be hacked. New study finds, people we know are the ones frequently accessing our accounts without our permission. In a survey of 1,308 US adult Facebook users , researchers at the University of British Columbia found 24 percent – or more than one in five – had snooped on the Facebook accounts of their family members, friends and romantic partner using the victims’ own cellphones or computers. “It’s clearly a widespread practice. Facebook private messages, pictures or videos are easy targets when the account owner is already logged on and has left their computer or mobile open for viewing,” said Wali Ahmed Usmani, study author and computer science master’s student. People conceded to spying out of simple curiosity or fun, by changing a victim’s status or profile picture to something humorous. However, other motives were darker such as animosity or jealousy. “Jealous snoops generally plan their action and focus on personal messages, accessing the account for 15 minutes or longer,” said computer science professor Ivan Beschastnikh, a senior author on the paper. “And the consequences are significant: in many cases, snooping effectively ended the relationship.” The paper’s other senior author, electrical and computer engineering professor Kosta Benznosov, said the finding highlights the ineffectiveness of device PINs and passwords in preventing unauthorized access by insiders. Benznosov also said there is no single solution, but further added a combination of changing passwords, logging out of your account and other security practices can make a difference.
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Technology
A study by the University of British Columbia says jealousy and self-importance drives Facebook users to portray their best selves through their posts. Researchers say this cycle of comparison with others leads to a decrease in metal well-being. “Social media participation has been linked to depression, anxiety and narcissistic behaviour, but the reasons haven’t been well-explained,” says Sauder School of Business Professor Izak Benbasat. “We found envy to be the missing link.” According to Benbasat, travel photos cause the most Facebook envy, pushing friends to posts their best pictures. He says the posts aren’t fueled by the need to compete, but rather the need to keep up appearances. Benbasat and his team of collaborators from the Sauder School of Business led the study. The team surveyed about 1,000 Facebook users from a German university then asked the students a series of questions about their Facebook habits – cross-referencing their responses with the feelings they reported when using the site. “Sharing pictures and stories about the highlights of your life – that’s so much of what Facebook is for, so you can’t take that away… but I think it’s important for people to know what impact it can have on their well-being,” says Benbasat.
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