In an era where more and more people are concerned with their digital privacy, a recent TikTok video has shed light on the extent to which employers can spy on their workers using apps like Microsoft Teams.
Posted by @gabrielle_judge on June 16, the video quickly went viral, amassing over 2.6 million views and sparking a conversation about workplace surveillance.
@gabrielle_judge Replying to @Banana 🍌 Your job definitely had access to what you do on your work laptop and on microsoft teams. This is a list of what your boss can access through your microsoft teams account. Employee surveillance differs state to state as well! Its important to understand your employee rights in your local area. #9to5 #corporatejobs #toxicmanager #overworkedandunderpaid #workfromhometips #firedfromwork ♬ original sound – Gabrielle👸🏻
In the video, @gabrielle_judge outlines the various aspects of Microsoft Teams that bosses can access, cautioning that these capabilities are rarely utilized and not the norm: “This is for like really toxic situations. Normally your boss isn’t just sitting there like reading your stuff all day, I promise,” Gabrielle cautions.
She then provides viewers with a comprehensive list of what employers can monitor, stating, “Your employer can definitely see a lot of stuff when it comes to Microsoft Teams. I’ll show you everything they can access.”
While using a list from a Timewatch blog post, Gabrielle discloses that bosses can view one-on-one chats, group chats, and meeting chats, including deleted messages.
Following the list, she shares they can also access information about meetings, such as the subject, date, time, attendees, and duration. Additionally, bosses can monitor the creation and deletion of channels and teams, track login and logout times, identify IP addresses used for access, view the apps employees utilize within Teams, and even review recordings of meetings.
Furthermore, Gabrielle cautions against misinterpreting the Microsoft “productivity” score, emphasizing that it measures tool usage rather than actual productivity.
The TikToker adds that she always receives a lot of messages from people saying “you should already know this” but that she still makes these videos because there are people out there who don’t.
“So I’m just educating some people. I just don’t want you to lose your job when you could’ve just avoided something,” she concludes.
The video has garnered significant attention, prompting diverse reactions and comments from viewers.
Some users expressed skepticism regarding the ease with which bosses can access this data, with one comment stating, “As a Teams admin, only admins can access this. Your boss barely knows how to use Teams, let alone have access to this data.”
A second user, claiming to be an Office 365 Admin, reassured viewers, saying, “I can 100% assure you that it’s not that easy to pull information from users’ Teams. Even for IT…”
Another user shed light on the organizational protocols surrounding data access, stating, “To be clear, IT can get this data, but your boss can’t necessarily. Most companies would require HR approval to get this type of data.”
However, not everyone took the video too seriously, with one commenter humorously remarking, “My boss can’t share his screen, I think I’m okay,” and a second one adding “My boss needs to be humbled sometimes. Let ’em read everything.”
The Daily Dot has reached out to Gabriella via her email and to Microsoft via their press email.