Society

One in five adults secretly snoop on their friends’ Facebook accounts

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.

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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, according to a research at UBC. (Photo courtesy of : www.freeimages.com)

“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.