Your Friends Could be Spying on Your Facebook Profile Without Permission – And How to Stop It

Technology SecurityHave you ever left your Facebook page open on your browser and someone else looked at it, or even posted? If you haven’t, you most likely know someone who has —according to a new study from the University of British Columbia, 24 percent of users have accessed someone else’s profile, and 21 percent said they have been victims.

This kind of privacy violation is often done as a prank, but the study, conducted among 1,308 adult Facebook users in the U.S., looked at other motivating factors, including curiosity, jealousy, animosity and utility. One common scenario the study examined involved romantic partners spying on each other’s private messages. However, the authors of the study also called out users who are hacked, noting that people seem to value easy access over strong security.

“Most attacks are opportunistic, and multiple stories indicated an attacker struggling, and failing, to control the urge to carry out the attack,” the study read. “For victims, the stories highlighted a high emotional and practical toll of the attack. This hints at a mismatch between the degree to which Facebook users value privacy, and their ability (or desire) to attain this privacy.”

Being “facejacked” by a friend is definitely annoying, and can often be worse, but it’s true: many users are willing to take the risk while maintaining easy access to their Facebook profiles.

Here are a few suggestions that can help keep you from becoming a victim of these types of privacy intrusions:

  1. Secure mobile devices and lapops with a lock screen or password when not in use
  2. Always log out of Facebook, especially when using a shared computer
  3. Use Facebook’s remote logout feature to end any active Facebook sessions – Click your Security Settings and then look for ”
    Where You’re Logged In.” Click that link and end all sessions.