One in three adults now spy on their other half via social media, a survey has revealed.
Sites such as Facebook and Twitter have spawned a new breed of internet snoopers who carefully watch the movements of a husband, wife or partner, a report found.
Researchers discovered that a typical adult now spends the equivalent of 11 days a year trawling the web spying on those closest to them.
The trend emerged in a study of 2,000 adults by the UK’s leading lifestyle TV channel Really, to mark the premiere of the new series of CIA drama Covert Affairs.
Really’s general manager Clare Laycock said: ”Social media is increasingly being used as a tool to check on whether someone is telling the truth, be it where they have been that evening, or even for work purposes by disgruntled bosses.
”It seems that more of us are using covert means to go under cover in our daily lives, to find out the truth.”
The ‘Covert Report’ also found more than one third (36 per cent) of those asked admitted turning to social media sites to find out if their partners were telling the truth about where they were, or had been.
Over eight out of ten said they later regretted the decision and admitted they should have been more trustworthy.
But around one in six revealed they had caught their other half ‘tweet-handed’ and so were justified in spying on them.
Amazingly, the report also found two out of five people are not friends with their partners on social media sites.
The findings also revealed women are more likely to use social media sites as a spy tool (55 per cent), while men are more likely to avoid adding their partner on social media sites to avoid arguments (22 per cent), so their partner cannot spy on them (13 per cent).
Facebook has been named as the top social media spy tool of choice by the majority of ‘finger twitchers’ (40 per cent), followed by Twitter (20 per cent), and LinkedIn (11 per cent).
But as with all technology mistakes can happen, and a quarter of social media users (25 per cent) said they had accidentally ‘liked’ or ‘added’ the person they were spying on via Facebook.
A further eight per cent had slipped up on LinkedIn by viewing profiles of ex-colleagues without realising they were able to see who had viewed their profile.
An additional four per cent of respondents had even typed the name of the person they were spying on as their status update.
Many Britons have also fallen into the trap of adding their colleagues on social media sites, with the average user reporting that half (49 per cent) of their social media friends were made up of work colleagues.
As a result, over 11 per cent have been caught out whilst pulling a sickie, while a further 8% have arrived late to work after partying too hard the night before, having posted updates about their evening online.
Of those asked, a third of respondents who are parents (30 per cent), said they used sites such as Twitter and Facebook to keep tabs on their children with 36 per cent admitting they found out more about them via their social media pages, than speaking to them in person.
The Covert Report found that the average time a British adult spends spying on social media sites amounts to 43 minutes per day, which adds up to a massive 262 hours in a year.
The survey also revealed the nation’s top ten lies discovered through the use of social media:
The majority of respondents identified their smartphone as the top spying device (15 per cent), with only six per cent opting for a computer.
TOP TEN FACEBOOK LIES
1. Lying about your relationship status
2. Lying about still being in contact with an ex
3. Pulling a fake sickie
4. Arriving late to work following a late night out that has been posted on social media
5. Lying about your whereabouts
6. Embellishing your academic qualifications
7. Lying about your profession
8. Caught out in holiday pictures
9. Caught out not inviting someone to a party
10. Lying about going for a new job
* Covert Affairs starts on Wednesdays at 9pm from 19th September on Sky 248, Virgin 267 or Freeview 17.