Workers Deny Using Social Networking Sites At Work

Dennis Faas's picture

More than 70% of British office workers claim they don't use social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace while at work. A survey showed that only 38% were not signed up to any such sites. However, 22% say they chose to only use the sites outside working hours, while a further 12% don't have the choice because their employers have blocked access.

The employees ranked social networking sites, along with instant messaging, as a very minor distraction to their productivity -- far below more traditional distractions like pointless meetings and loud colleagues.

The survey was a publicity stunt for a British recruitment agency. A spokesman pointed out the dangers of workers including potentially-embarrassing details on their Internet profiles: "As a benchmark, never publicly post something you wouldn't want your mother to see."

It follows a separate survey last year that suggested 20% of employers already check social networking sites to research job candidates. Lawyers warned that it's perfectly legal to do this and then reject candidates who are "not serious enough". (Source:

Some companies, however, make a point of not doing such checks. A director at car hire firm Enterprise likened such research to "going into somebody's house and searching their cupboards". (Source:

Meanwhile, an American study shows social networking sites may be safer for teenagers and young children than other online activities. The research, which was carried out by Internet Solutions for Kids and published in the journal Pediatrics found that of 1,588 children aged 10-15 linked to inappropriate solicitation and harassment only one in four cases took place through social networking sites. The majority came through chatrooms or instant messaging. (Source:

The employee surveys are a reminder that common sense is the best guideline. If you share sensitive details you wouldn't want an employer to see, you should make sure they are not accessible to the public at large.

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