Online Privacy at Risk: The Weird Things People Google About Politicians

If you're about to start a new job, it's time to get your cyber security in order. New Online Spy Shop research has found that, in total, 59% of people search for new colleagues on social media within a week of meeting them. 16% will have had a sneaky peak BEFORE they've met you, and no, we're not just talking about LinkedIn! They want to know if you're single, who you're friends are and what you do in your spare time. View the full findings in visual form.

The study found:

  • * The most common reason for snooping on colleagues is to check for shared interests.

  • * More than 1 in 5 (22%) admit they do it to look at pictures, and 18% do it to check relationship status.

  • * Excluding LinkedIn, 16% will check out a new colleague's personal social media before they've met them.

  • * Twitter is the most common platform for snooping on new colleagues, followed by Instagram and Facebook.

Cyber Stalking

Snooping personal social media profiles (this does’n't include LinkedIn) is most likely to happen to people within their first week of a job, as a curious 40% of colleagues say they rush to find out more about their new office buddy in that time. 5% will do it within a day of meeting their new colleague, and 16% will do it before they've met their new colleague.

Cyber Stalking

Of those that look up new colleagues, the vast majority (85%) say they were curious, while 15% went a step further and connected with their new colleagues by following them or adding them as friends. However, most of those who tried to connect with their colleague waited a week or more to look them up.

Cyber Stalking

Despite the eagerness of some to connect socially with their new colleague, 77% said they’d be uncomfortable connecting on social media with a new colleague until they’d got to know them properly.

Reasons for spying online

Top reasons for stalking new colleagues Of those who admit Facebook stalking new colleagues
To see if we share common interests 25%
To view pictures 22%
To find out the relationship status 18%
To see if we have friends in common 13%
To find out political opinions 12%
To find out professional/industry opinions 7%
General nosiness 3%
Other 1%

How long does it take your colleagues to start snooping on your social media?

*5% of those surveyed said they don’t use social media.

Platform Before meeting in person Within a day of meeting in person Within a week After getting to know them properly Never
LinkedIn 29% 23% 18% 11% 14%
Twitter 21% 5% 20% 38% 11%
Facebook 9% 7% 13% 31% 35%
Instagram 22% 6% 25% 18% 24%
Other 11% 2% 19% 49% 14%

Steve Roberts of Online Spy Shop warns against leaving any social media content visible that you wouldn't’t say in front of colleagues.

"Social media has put people's private lives within tempting reach of anyone who cares to view it, so it's perhaps unsurprising that so many people look up new colleagues as soon as they meet them, and in some cases before they meet them. While most of it is undoubtedly innocent curiosity, this does raise genuine privacy concerns.

Previous studies we've conducted have found that the majority of people aren't aware of their own social media privacy settings, so I'd urge anyone - regardless of whether they're about to start a new job - to do two things; firstly, make sure their privacy settings are how they want them to be and secondly, consider removing any posts they'd be uncomfortable with new colleagues seeing. The rule is quite simple when it comes to social media and work, only share on social media what you'd be happy sharing in the office. Otherwise, make sure your colleagues will never see it."