Many employers block Facebook on company computers, and even more monitor their employees’ online activities. For those lucky enough to work for companies that do not censor Internet usage, know that being caught playing FarmVille on company time rarely reflects favorably in yearly performance reviews.
To use Facebook from work without tripping the boss’ radar, follow these tips:
Go Incognito — Turn off Chat
This should be blatantly obvious, but if your boss or any of your coworkers are on your friends list, they will know the moment you sign into Facebook because your name will appear in their chat lists — at least, if they are currently signed into Facebook.
Instead of taking the chance, click the gear symbol at the top of your chat window, then uncheck “Available to Chat” before leaving for work in the morning.
Bypass The Company’s Blocked Website List
Most companies use website blockers that are very easy to thwart. We could teach you how to set up a virtual private network, but in the majority of cases this much effort is unnecessary.
First, try the URL http://www.www.Facebook.com. As this is a subdomain of Facebook.com, some employers will not think to block it. If that does not work, try https://www.facebook.com. Sometimes the extra “s” will trick the network server into think the site is secure, and thus safe to allow access.
If changing the URL does not work, the next trick to try is a proxy site. Many network administrators block these, but since new ones appear all the time, one of them is sure to work.
One of the most popular is HideMyAss.com, which has a built-in Facebook proxy. If this one is already blocked, a simple Google search will reveal thousands of proxies. Be aware proxies make their money through intrusive advertisements. Expect pop-ups and pop-under ads when using this method.
Hide The Facebook URL From The Network Log
If your company does not block Facebook, but still tracks every site you visit, using a proxy site is still a great way to hide your Facebook activities.
But while proxy sites also offer the advantage of hiding the URLs you visit, there is an even sneakier way to hide the URL. Go to Google Translate, then enter the Facebook URL. Translate it from English to English. The site will appear masked beneath miles of Google URL code in your company’s network log, yet you should have full access to your Facebook account.
Install A Panic Button On Your Browser
If you plan to use Facebook at work, you need a one-click method to hide your activities from plain sight when the boss or a nosy coworker walks by your desk. The best way to do this is with a browser extension known as a panic button.
Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer all have extensions that work as panic buttons. Once installed, you can either click the button on your browser or use a shortcut key to hide all of your open browser windows, then restore them when the boss walks away.
The main thing to remember when using Facebook at work is to be careful. If your company has blocked Facebook from its servers, take it as a sign that if you are caught surfing Facebook you will probably face disciplinary action.
Personally, I prefer to surf Facebook from my mobile phone rather than using the server at work.
What are your favorite tricks for hiding your Facebook activity?