A survey of 1,308 adult Facebook users conducted by the University of British Columbia found that 24 % had accessed the accounts of friends, partners, and family members without their knowledge or consent—and often using the other person’s computer or cellphone to do so. Wow, take your device everywhere—even into the bathroom with you….One quarter of a sample is statistically significant, in other words, widespread.
It’s not hard to get into someone’s account if their device is on and they are logged in to Facebook. While some of this is curiosity, it is not hard to see how someone who is jealous, possessive, or even a budding stalker could use any information to justify and/or harass the object of their “obsession.”
Facebook can be damaging to relationships—I have seen this many times in my work with couples. When boundaries are crossed and/or inappropriate thoughts/feelings are posted—things can spin out of control quickly. Facebook has led to cheating when those who are bored or unhappy in their relationships decide to “look up” old lovers. Then there are the online connections and flirtations that can lead to offline hook-ups. There are also the perfectly innocent friendships between members of the opposite sex that are misinterpreted as something else by jealous or possessive partners. In the wrong hands, Facebook can be a weapon of destruction.
Because these are often “inside jobs,” passwords and security are beside the point. Of course, keeping your password completely secret from everyone and logging out of Facebook every time you finish using it, would help prevent this from happening to you.
Of course, the bigger issue is trust. If we can’t trust 25% of the people we are in a close relationship with, what does that say in general about our relationships? If you are one of the snoopers, consider stopping now. If you suspect you are being snooped on, it’s time to have that talk about privacy, boundaries, and trust. If someone you are intimately involved with wants to know something—they should bring it to you directly. If they can’t, this is a RED FLAG.