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Here’s why more US employees self-censor social media posts

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The FBI is searching for tools to gather social media data in bulk
Plans to track social media activity will potentially clash with existing privacy policies.

With the world being always accessible in the palm of our hands, it’s often difficult to disconnect.

It’s hard to believe that in 2005 only 5% of adults in the US used at least one social media platform. Now, in 2019, almost three-out-of-four (72%) people are active on social media, so it’s no wonder that the lines between our home and work lives are becoming blurred. We are suffering from social media overload.

But what happens when your co-workers (or even boss) decide they want to follow you online?

Vancouver, BC-based job interview company The Interview Guys studied data from 1,024 employees who had been followed by a friend or colleague across their social media accounts. It wanted to discover more about their self-censorship behavior online.

Almost all respondents (97.8%) reported being followed or friended by their colleagues on Facebook, followed by 82.1% on Instagram, 75.6% on Snapchat, and 65.2% on Twitter.

Most of these connections (94.8%) came from co-workers they interacted with daily. Almost half of these friend requests (48%) however, came from people higher up in the organization such as supervisors or managers. 

However, several respondents reported having an account purely for work purposes. Almost one in five (19.5%) had a work account on Twitter, 15.1% on Facebook, 13.9% on Instagram and 13.3% on Snapchat.

Three in 10 employees accepted friend requests to keep the peace at work, as having a good relationship with your co-worker is crucial to job-related success. Is it worth accepting a friend request from someone you do not particularly like, or have a difficult relationship with at work?

Many employees self-censor their posts because colleagues can see them. Employees over 50 years old self-censored their posts 20% more than employees in their 20s.

Over two out of five (41%) employees in their 20s admitted to avoiding posting content that involves drinking or drug use on their social media profiles.

Seventy-seven percent of respondents acknowledged using privacy settings on their social posts, followed by around 76% who did the same for their photos.

Here's why more US employees self-censor social media posts

(Image: The Interview Guys)

The main topics employees avoided posting about because their co-workers could see them were: Political feelings (36.0%), drinking or drug use (34.2%), and anti-company statements (32.0%).

Around 31% of respondents in their 50s or older avoided posting about the company they worked for.

Two-out-of-five employees say their company is strict on their social media usage outside of work, and one in three people report knowing someone whose employer terminated them based on their actions on social media.

Over 30% of people say companies should screen job applicants’ social media as part of the hiring process. One in 10 employees said they were required to disclose their social media profiles when they applied for their current position. 

Social media contributed to the burnout that many experience at work, and added to anxiety about their colleagues monitoring their social activity. Perhaps it is time to take a step back.

If you keep your social profiles public, don’t be surprised if you find co-workers lurking on your content. You might want to scrub your social media posts and job hop to a better career.

It might be time to revisit your privacy settings and make sure your private posts stay that way.

Previous and related coverage:

US job seekers scrub their social media accounts to get success

Are you worried that your social media footprint will jeopardize your career? If so, you are not alone.

Where do the tech giants send your data?

Although we find our digital lives convenient with notifications, streamed music, messages, and emails, remember the tech companies are ruling our lives.

Millennials stressed from tech and social media overload

Milennials are suffering from burnout at work — and tech is a major factor in their stress.

Is your phone listening to your conversations? Paranoid’s guide to settings you can change

Are you suspicious about your phone? Have a look at these settings to put your mind at ease. they interacted



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The Five Pillars of (Azure) Cloud-based Application Security

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This 1-hour webinar from GigaOm brings together experts in Azure cloud application migration and security, featuring GigaOm analyst Jon Collins and special guests from Fortinet, Director of Product Marketing for Public Cloud, Daniel Schrader, and Global Director of Public Cloud Architecture and Engineering, Aidan Walden.

These interesting times have accelerated the drive towards digital transformation, application rationalization, and migration to cloud-based architectures. Enterprise organizations are looking to increase efficiency, but without impacting performance or increasing risk, either from infrastructure resilience or end-user behaviors.

Success requires a combination of best practice and appropriate use of technology, depending on where the organization is on its cloud journey. Elements such as zero-trust access and security-driven networking need to be deployed in parallel with security-first operations, breach prevention and response.

If you are looking to migrate applications to the cloud and want to be sure your approach maximizes delivery whilst minimizing risk, this webinar is for you.

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Data Management and Secure Data Storage for the Enterprise

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This free 1-hour webinar from GigaOm Research brings together experts in data management and security, featuring GigaOm Analyst Enrico Signoretti and special guest from RackTop Systems, Jonathan Halstuch. The discussion will focus on data storage and how to protect data against cyberattacks.

Most of the recent news coverage and analysis of cyberattacks focus on hackers getting access and control of critical systems. Yet rarely is it mentioned that the most valuable asset for the organizations under attack is the data contained in these systems.

In this webinar, you will learn about the risks and costs of a poor data security management approach, and how to improve your data storage to prevent and mitigate the consequences of a compromised infrastructure.

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CISO Podcast: Talking Anti-Phishing Solutions

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Simon Gibson earlier this year published the report, “GigaOm Radar for Phishing Prevention and Detection,” which assessed more than a dozen security solutions focused on detecting and mitigating email-borne threats and vulnerabilities. As Gibson noted in his report, email remains a prime vector for attack, reflecting the strategic role it plays in corporate communications.

Earlier this week, Gibson’s report was a featured topic of discussions on David Spark’s popular CISO Security Vendor Relationship Podcast. In it, Spark interviewed a pair of chief information security officers—Mike Johnson, CISO for SalesForce, and James Dolph, CISO for Guidewire Software—to get their take on the role of anti-phishing solutions.

“I want to first give GigaOm some credit here for really pointing out the need to decide what to do with detections,” Johnson said when asked for his thoughts about selecting an anti-phishing tool. “I think a lot of companies charge into a solution for anti-phishing without thinking about what they are going to do when the thing triggers.”

As Johnson noted, the needs and vulnerabilities of a large organization aligned on Microsoft 365 are very different from those of a smaller outfit working with GSuite. A malicious Excel macro-laden file, for example, poses a credible threat to a Microsoft shop and therefore argues for a detonation solution to detect and neutralize malicious payloads before they can spread and morph. On the other hand, a smaller company is more exposed to business email compromise (BEC) attacks, since spending authority is often spread among many employees in these businesses.

Gibson’s radar report describes both in-line and out-of-band solutions, but Johnson said cloud-aligned infrastructures argue against traditional in-line schemes.

“If you put an in-line solution in front of [Microsoft] 365 or in front of GSuite, you are likely decreasing your reliability, because you’ve now introduced this single point of failure. Google and Microsoft have this massive amount of reliability that is built in,” Johnson said.

So how should IT decision makers go about selecting an anti-phishing solution? Dolph answered that question with a series of questions of his own:

“Does it nail the basics? Does it fit with the technologies we have in place? And then secondarily, is it reliable, is it tunable, is it manageable?” he asked. “Because it can add a lot overhead, especially if you have a small team if these tools are really disruptive to the email flow.”

Dolph concluded by noting that it’s important for solutions to provide insight that can help organizations target their protections, as well as support both training and awareness around threats. Finally, he urged organizations to consider how they can measure the effectiveness of solutions.

“I may look at other solutions in the future and how do I compare those solutions to the benchmark of what we have in place?”

Listen to the Podcast: CISO Podcast

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