People are turning to social media in order to show-off to friends, collect as many ‘likes’ as possible and to feel good about themselves. But in this quest for social validation people are playing with the truth and whitewashing their lives. New research from Kaspersky Lab shows that one-in-ten people would bend the truth on social media in order to get more people to like their posts. The research also shows that in their pursuit of likes, men are more likely than women to post their privacy away. Globally, one-in-ten (9%) men would post a photo of themselves naked compared to only 5% of women and 13% of men post photos of their friends wearing something revealing.
To attract attention and secure a significant number of likes, around one-in-ten people (12%) pretend to be somewhere or doing something that might not be strictly true. This rises to 14% of men, suggesting that many would rather get social media attention than share a realistic portrayal of their lives.
The research uncovers that men are sensitive about how many likes they get on social media and, in their hunt for likes, men are more likely than women to reveal something embarrassing or confidential about their co-workers, friends or employers. Thus, 14% of men said they would reveal something confidential about a co-worker, compared to 7% of women, 13% are willing to post something confidential about their employer, and 12% would reveal something embarrassing about a friend compared with 6% of women.
Men also get upset if they do not get the likes they hope for – 24% worry that if few people like their posts, their friends will think they are unpopular, compared to 17% of women. 29% of men also admitted that they get upset if somebody who matters to them doesn’t like their posts.
In the hunt for likes, men tend to go even further than women, posting things that present themselves and their friends in a compromising light, which according to Dr. Astrid Carolus, Media Psychologist at the University of Würzburg, “is in line with the assumption of men being rather less focused on social harmony and rather more willing to take risks.” Thus, 15% of men revealed they would post a photo of friends under the influence of alcohol compared to 8% of women, 12% of men would post a photo of themselves wearing something revealing, and 9% of men are even ready to post a photo of themselves naked compared to only 5% of women.
Evgeny Chereshnev, Head of Social Media at Kaspersky Lab agrees, but warns that this risky behaviour on social media can put people at risk. “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,” he says. “But it is important to protect ourselves, as well as the privacy of others. The research shows that 58% of people feel uncomfortable and upset when their friends post photos of them that they do not want to be made public. All in all, people need to become more aware and cyber-savvy about the information they share on social media and install security software on their devices to protect themselves and their loved ones from cyberthreats.”