Report: Your Office Cube-Mate is Stalking Your Facebook Wall

By Katie Kindelan Comment

It’s the worst kept secret in the workplace, that employees spend company time on social media sites. Now we know what exactly they’re doing behind those cubicle walls: stalking you on Facebook.

88 percent of employees spend their time lurking on Facebook, watching and reading others’ pages instead of actively posting own their own, according to a new survey from computer security firm Palo Alto Networks.

This kind of ‘voyeurism,’ the study reports, presents a number of risks, including “potential loss of productivity and the possibility of malware introduction by clicking on a link within someone’s wall.”

Less than 2 percent of Facebook users actively post on their own profile pages while at work. And, contrary to what a wall full of your friends’ Farmville acquisitions would indicate, only 5 percent of Facebook users spend time playing games while logged into the social network.

And another statistic that will make bosses and IT staff alike groan, overall, employees at 96 percent of corporations the firm surveyed use some kind of social media application. The study concludes also that just looking instead of acting does not protect employees or their employers either.

Of the 931 apps the study followed on employee networks, Facebook ranked sixth in frequency – behind basic network apps like DNS, SSL, and Web browsing, but ahead of Flash, SMTP, and RSS. Twitter ranked 13th, Gmail 14th, and YouTube 17th.

Among social media sites alone, Facebook was by far the most popular choice of employees whittling away 9-5, followed by Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace.

The study’s findings present two interesting questions:

1) Do IT managers, in light of the recent Facebook privacy breach involving third party apps, risk the wrath of employees and ban Farmville?

2) Did employees everywhere actually get work done during the recent Facebook outage?