Social media started life as a way of staying in touch with friends and sharing happy memories. However, the results of the latest study from Kaspersky Lab indicate that social media now leaves many people feeling negative instead. The hunt for likes plays a central role in this, with the majority of people feeling down or upset when they don’t get as many likes as they expected for a post, and with 42 per cent saying they feel jealous when their friends get more likes than them. Research from Kaspersky Lab also shows that one-in-ten people would bend the truth on social media in order to get more people to like their posts, with men more likely than women to post their privacy away.
Kaspersky Lab research has unearthed people’s frustration with social media. People often experience negative emotions after spending time on social media due to a variety of reasons, and these overpower the positive effects of social media.
While it is not surprising that 72 per cent of people are annoyed by advertising that has become extremely intrusive and interrupts their online communications, the reasons for frustration go deeper. Despite the desire to feel good from their interactions on social media, when people see their friends’ happy posts about holidays, hobbies, and parties, they are often left with the bitter feeling that other people are enjoying life more than them. For example, 59 per cent have felt unhappy when they have seen friends’ posts from a party they were not invited to, and 45 per cent revealed that their friends’ holiday pictures have had a negative influence on them. Furthermore, 37 per cent also admitted that looking at past happy posts of their own can leave them with the feeling that their own past was better than their present life.
In addition, Kaspersky Lab’s survey has revealed that men are more likely than women to reveal something embarrassing or confidential about their co-workers, friends or employers. According to Dr. Astrid Carolus, Media Psychologist at the University of Würzburg, “this is in line with the assumption of men being rather less focused on social harmony and rather more willing to take risks.” Thus, 15 per cent of men revealed they would post a photo of friends under the influence of alcohol compared to 8 per cent of women. 12 per cent of men would post a photo of themselves wearing something revealing, and 9 per cent of men are even ready to post a photo of themselves naked compared to only 5 per cent of women.
David Mole, Head of Retail Sales at Kaspersky Lab agrees, but warns that this risky behaviour on social media can put people at risk. “Our relationship with social media has developed into a vicious cycle. We want to go onto our favourite social platforms to tell all of our connections about the positive things we are doing. But the reality is when we log onto social media we’re bombarded with images of our friends having fun, and it looks like they’re enjoying life more than us.” He says, “in their search for social approval, people have stopped seeing the boundary between what it is okay to share, and what is better kept private. But it is important to protect ourselves, as well as the privacy of others. To do this, people need to become more aware about the information they share on social media and install security software on their devices to protect themselves and their loved ones from cyberthreats.”
Previous research has also demonstrated peoples’ frustration with social media as 78 per cent admitted that they have considered leaving social networks altogether. The only thing that makes people stay on social media is the fear of losing their digital memories, such as photos, and contacts with their friends.
To help people decide more freely if they want to stay in social media or leave without losing their digital memories, Kaspersky Lab is developing a new app – FFForget will allow people to back up all of their memories from the social networks they use and keep them in a safe, encrypted memory container and will give people the freedom to leave any network whenever they want, without losing what belongs to them – their digital lives.
FFForget is planned for 2017. Interested users can register at ffforget.kaspersky.com to get updates and insights, provide feedback and get early access.
Kaspersky Lab also advises the following top tips for keeping safe in the world of social media:
- Don’t use the same password for all your online accounts – if one account is compromised, they all could be. If you believe anybody else has found out your password – even if they are a friend or part of your family – change it immediately.
- Don’t assume that someone is who they say they are. Remember that even a friend’s account may be hacked, in which case it could be a cybercriminal that’s sending you a message, or inviting you to click on a link.
- If you wouldn’t publish something on the front page of a daily newspaper, don’t post it online.
- Review your Facebook security settings carefully, ideally restricting all sections to be viewed/shared to ‘friends only’.
- Protect your computer using Internet security software and always install security updates to software on your computer.