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Facebook not so fun when bosses and moms lurk

Nov. 26, 2012 at 6:44 PM ET

© Thomas Hodel / Reuters /
Using Facebook to post crazy photos of yourself at a party is something you may want to rethink for a number of reasons, a new study shows.

LONDON (Reuters) - Posting pictures of yourself plastered at a party and talking trash online with your Facebook friends may be more stress than it's worth now that your boss and mom want to see it all. 

A survey from Edinburgh Business School released on Monday showed Facebook users are anxious that all those self-published sins may be coming home to roost with more than half of employers claiming to have used Facebook to weed out job candidates. 

"Facebook used to be like a great party for all your friends where you can dance, drink and flirt," said Ben Marder, author of the report and fellow in marketing at the Business School. 

"But now with your Mom, Dad and boss there, the party becomes an anxious event full of potential social landmines." 

 On average, people are Facebook friends with seven different social circles, the report found, with real friends known to the user offline the most common.

Only a third of the study's participants used the privacy setting that lets users control the information seen by different types of friends, according to a press release announcing the study, which surveyed 300 users, mostly students, with an average age of 21.

More than four-fifths of users add extended family on Facebook, a similar number add siblings. Less than 70 percent are connected to friends of friends while more than 60 percent added their colleagues online, despite the anxiety this may cause. 

Facebook has settings to control the information seen by different types of friends, but only one third use them, the report said. 

"I'm not worried at all because all the really messy pics — me, drunken or worse — I de-tag straight away," said Chris from London, aged 30. 

People were more commonly friends with former boyfriends or girlfriends than with current ones, the report also found.

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