By force of habit =From habitI can only venture to suggest that some people might have been brought up on the Mainland at the time of the cultural revolution or there around, when newspapers were a scarcity and people were used to reading the People's Daily and whatever local papers posted on billboards outside community halls, train stations, public parks and what not. By force of habit, they have grown to enjoy peering over the shoulders of others for a scrap of free information without even aware what nuisance they are causing to their victims.
-- This is classic. If you happened to be interested by a news story and couldn't help yourself from a sideward glance, that's excusable. But make it a point of reading other people's paper and brazen enough not only to call names when they show the least sign of being annoyed but further brag here on the thought that your OLO colleagues are all a petty group to echo?! Have some self-esteem, man.
This is classic = This is typical or what?
call names = scold?
brag on - shouldn't be brag about?
a petty group = tiny group or else?
man - salutation by the black people - Hey Man
to echo = resonate?