One in four people access former partner's social media accounts

Francesca Specter
Yahoo Style UK deputy editor
More than a quarter of people admit to logging into their ex's social media accounts. [Photo: Getty]

Over one in four people admit to accessing their former partner’s social accounts.

This is according to research conducted by cyber security company Specops Soft.

The global company surveyed 2,568 participants about whether they had logged on to their ex’s Instagram, Facebook, Netflix, Spotify, Twitter or email accounts.

Some 27% of participants admitted to doing following a break-up.

Out of those who answered affirmatively, almost seven in 10 (69%) said they’d accessed their former flame’s Instagram account to check up on them, while some 58% admitted to logging into Facebook to do the same.

READ MORE: Science has a theory about why people stay in unhappy relationships

Then there were 29% saying they had looked through an ex-partner’s emails.

While it’s unclear exactly how this was done, it’s known many couples swap passwords or relax their cyber security around one another, logging into their accounts from one another’s devices – so it’s easy to see how this sitation may arise.

A majority (58%) said their snooping was motivated by a desire to find out whether their partner had met someone new, while 11% did so to seek revenge and 7% were looking to see if their ex had blocked them from viewing photos or others content.

Around a third of this group also admitted to accessing their ex’s Netflix (33%) or Spotify (27%) accounts – although it’s likely they were circumventing having to pay a monthly charge for their own account.

Perhaps it’s no wonder people are able to spy on their exes, with more than 64% of us using the same password for some or all of our online accounts, according to a survey of 1,050 UK residents carried out by Bilendi on behalf of email services company, GMX, earlier this year.

Tempted to snoop? Ann Heathcote, a psychotherapist from The Worsley Centre, has provided some comments on why you’re better off resisting.

READ MORE: Is it ever acceptable to break up with someone by text?

She explains: “Seeing your ex’s name appear is enough to experience that knot feeling in your stomach. Although these knot feelings are a physical experience, it’s actually the enteric nervous system. This system consists of millions of neurons that communicate with the brain and let us feel the emotions that our brain is dealing with.”

What’s more, this practice can be actively damaging to your mental health.

“Focusing on your ex doesn’t enable you to emotionally distance yourself or focus on your personal growth. You must focus on healing yourself and practise self-care instead of focusing your energy on the past,” she adds.

As for protecting your account, cyber security expert Aimee Ravacon at Specops Software offers the following tips: “When it comes to creating strong passwords, size does matter- and the longer, the better. Just make sure the password isn’t easily guessable by other means, meaning do not use personal information like your pet’s name, or date of birth.

“It’s also advisable to go into your account settings, see how many sessions you have open, on which devices and in which locations – If there are any you don’t recognise as yourself (on your ex’s desktop at their home 5 miles away, for example) then you may want to end that session and log them out.”

She adds: “You can also use two-factor authentication so that you need your phone, in addition to your password, when you log in on new devices. Be sure to turn on notifications for unusual logins and assess each one to find out who is accessing your accounts. Or if you secretly want your ex to know you’ve moved on with your life, you could do nothing at all...”