Serving Up Revenge Seasoned With Personal Data

The Internet may be raising the bar for bad post-breakup behavior.

Nearly 60% of threatened ex-lovers have been exposed by their exes, according to a study by McAfee, the computer security company. Among the top drivers for exposing personal data are “cheating” and “being lied to.” More than half of ex-lovers surveyed also admitted to cyber-stalking former partners.

The “2013 Love, Relationships and Technology” survey found that a majority of Americans (94%) believe their data and revealing photos are safe in the hands of their partners. Thirteen percent of adults have had their personal content leaked to others without their permission.

One in 10 ex-partners has threatened to expose risqué photos of an ex online. According to the study, these threats have been carried out nearly 60% of the time.

After lying (45%) and cheating (41%), the most common reasons for exposing personal data are breaking up (27%), canceling a wedding (14%) and posting a picture taken with someone else (13%).

About a quarter of those surveyed regretted sending such intimate content after a break-up, and nearly a third have even asked an ex-partner to delete all personal content. Men are more often threatened with having photos exposed online than women (12% vs. 8%).

More than 56% admitted to checking their significant others’ social media pages and bank accounts, and nearly half log in to scan their partners’ emails. The survey also revealed that slightly more people (48%) track their ex-partner on Facebook more than they do their current partner (44%).

Males snoop on their partners more frequently than females. Almost half the men surveyed (46%) admitted to tracking a partner, ex-partner or partner’s ex on Facebook or Twitter, compared with 37% of women. On average, 57% of men admitted to checking their partner’s email, social media pages or bank accounts, compared with 52% of females.

McAfee, based in Santa Clara, California, conducted interviews online in December with 1,182 American adults ages 18 to 54. Respondents were split evenly by age and gender.