Facebook snoopers to be exposed

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

The naughty-naughty-stalky-stalky generation may soon see their fingerprint-free snooping habits curtailed. Photo / Thinkstock
The naughty-naughty-stalky-stalky generation may soon see their fingerprint-free snooping habits curtailed. Photo / Thinkstock

Facebook fans beware - the days when you could snoop through your friends, former partners' and work colleagues' pages anonymously are due to end.

The social networking site has announced that it will soon let users see who has been snooping through their pages. The move is expected to dramatically cut the browsing habits of hundreds of millions of users.

The change to the website - which has more than 900 million members - applies to group pages; meaning users can see who has visited any group which they are a member of.

But already there are suggestions that Facebook may unfurl the technology across the site, meaning the naughty-naughty-stalky-stalky generation may soon see their fingerprint-free snooping habits curtailed, or face the embarrassment of their ex's new boyfriend/girlfriend realising they were too curious to resist an online-curtain twitch.

Each day, more than 250 million photos are uploaded to Facebook, and 526 million people log in, up 41 per cent from a year ago.

A recent UMR survey showed that 54 per cent of New Zealanders had signed up to the site. That figure is up from 14 per cent just five years ago.

It has also been found that one in five New Zealanders have no problem logging on to social networking sites while at work.

The UMR survey - which had 3500 respondents - found Facebook to be one of the most popular sites to log on to while at work.

Martin Cocker, director of internet safety group NetSafe, said looking through people's photos and keeping tabs on other people's lives - through social networking sites - was something many people did.

He said the move to allow people to see who had been looking through their page was to be praised, as it added a level of transparency to the site.

"I don't think adding that functionality is creepy ... I can't see any particular safety concerns," Mr Cocker said.

"A lot of people use Facebook as a tool to check up on people they might not want to check up on directly.

"I can see why Facebook is doing it ... Facebook constantly explores the boundaries."

Avid Facebook user Nerissa Apa, 19, admitted she was scared about the move. "I stalk so many people - mostly old friends, girls from around uni, boys and people that I don't know personally but know of.

"That will definitely make me stop. I'm going to cut down looking at other people's pages big time."

Ms Apa, a university student, said other Facebook users she knew liked to keep tabs on former boyfriends and girlfriends - and their new partners - as well as relatives.

"They like to check out old flings and who they're going out with now, but also cousins and other family - seeing what everybody's up to."

Although she did not like the idea, the new-look Facebook would bring an interesting dimension to the social networking site.

"It'll be really interesting to see who goes on my page. I don't mind family constantly looking at my page [but] I think it'll be surprising to see who keeps an eye on you."

- additional reporting: Independent.

- NZ Herald

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