Facebook users connect from work – but avoid the boss

This perhaps explains why 73% of respondents to the international survey carried out by F-Secure, claim to have deliberately avoided 'friending' their manager on Facebook.

The veteran IT security vendor says that this suggests that the most profound privacy concern for users is a fear that online activity could negatively affect their employment.

58% of respondents said that they use Facebook at least occasionally whilst at work. However, nearly 3 out of 4 users have not become friends with their boss via the site. And 77% report that they actively use the Facebook privacy settings.

Commenting on the survey results, F-Secure's IT security advisor Sean Sullivan said: "We're finding that Facebook users are more privacy savvy that 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."

According to Sullivan, 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.

F-Secure says that 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.

Sullivan noted that 35% of users F-Secure surveyed said that they have 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", he said.

"Facebook is a free service", Sullivan went on to say.

"But we 'pay' by viewing advertising and making our lives into content that can be searched, shared and monetised. Users are willing to make a bargain, but they are also demanding Facebook for more control over what they share and with whom", he added.

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