A new study conducted by Monash University, has found that nearly a third of workers polled admitted to using Facebook while just 14% of those people said that getting on Facebook was actually work related. In a university press release regarding the study, the researchers were asked about the study and the results they found. In an unrelated post, MSNBC is reporting that employees using Facebook during company time is not illegal and thus such employees cannot be prosecuted for their activities.
In the study, a small group of professors from various departments at the university sent out questionnaires, interviewed workers and management at several companies and even went to some sites to try to discern what workers are doing online while at work.
As part of the study, the team found that just 35% of workers polled indicated that a set policy was in place at their place of employment setting guidelines for Internet use. Only a small portion of those people reported having actually read the guidelines. Also, 42% of workers said that their use of Facebook (or other media sites) was purely for personal reasons.
Complicating matters is the fact that more and more employees are now able to get online and access Facebook and other social media sites using their phones, thus by-passing in-house computer and network systems.
When asked, the team found that a slight majority of workers believe management had a right to monitor their online activities (when using office equipment to do so) but very few belived managers had the right to read their email, phone calls or set up video surveillance cameras.
On the other side of the coin, 62% of business managers said they didn’t really care what employees were doing online so long as it wasn’t illegal and didn’t interfere with them getting their work done. In those case, most said little to no effort was put into tracking the online activities of employees.
In the MSNBC report a person known only as Nosal was accused of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act after using Facebook on company time. If convicted Nosel would have faced a punishment of a federal crime. Instead, the presiding judge said that prosecutors had no case and dismissed the whole affair after a short meeting in chambers. He added that despite setting a policy in place specifically disallowing employees from using the Internet for private purposed, such use clearly did not constitute fraud as there was no evidence such use benefited the employee or took anything away from the employer.