How to Know if You Are Being Stalked on Facebook
By Joanna Polisena
With more than a billion users making more than 150 billion connections via computer and mobile devices, Facebook makes it easy to keep up with friends, family and acquaintances through news feeds, groups and Timelines, all of which provide access to photos and other details of your life. While you may welcome friends and family stalking you -- that is, frequently viewing what you post -- that information can put you at risk with stalking strangers. Improve your security by identifying and eliminating possible Facebook stalkers.
Facebook says it is impossible to know if someone quietly stalks your profile, activity log and photos. While some websites suggest viewing your Top Friends, Facebook Search and using other tools to see who shows up first when trying to identify your stalkers, those who appear at the top of those lists are more likely people with whom you interact most. So, unless your quiet stalker visits your Timeline and pictures frequently enough to surpass your best friends and family in Facebook’s tracking algorithms, a stranger or acquaintance is not likely to appear in the top slots.
Facebook assures that no third-party application can identify those who view your Timeline and other data, and that you should report any application claiming to do so. Some of these third-party apps go beyond being a basic scam; they can be malicious, posing a danger to your account and computer. However, applications such as On the Rebound claim their software can get inside some Facebook data, helping people stalk. This particular app searches the Timelines of the stalker’s friends to provide you information about who is single and likely to “hook up.”
You can spot those not-so-quiet stalkers when their name pops up as a like or comment on your posts too frequently for an acquaintance. They may also comment on things that only a close friend or family member normally would, such as pictures of your kids or a vent about a bad day at the office. Acquaintances who become stalkers may send you multiple messages, even when you didn’t respond to previous contact attempts. When it comes to instant messages, your best bet is to ignore people you don’t know. Finally, comments from acquaintances on pictures or posts from months ago should cause some concern.
Be leery of any friend request from strangers who have no common friends or who have new accounts. Anyone can pose as any individual when behind a computer screen, and efforts to increase your popularity by becoming friends with strangers could expose you to a stalker. New York City detectives have admitted to creating fake Facebook accounts to keep tabs on at-risk teens. They create an account for an attractive young woman and blast out friend requests. As a friend, they attempt to dissuade youths from committing robberies and other crime. If you de-friend someone on suspicion that she is stalking you, and she immediately sends another friend request, use the block feature and hope that’s the last you’ll hear from her.
- Facebook Investor Relations: Facebook Reports First Quarter 2013 Results
- Facebook FAQ: Can People Tell That I’ve Looked at Their Timeline?
- Facebook FAQ: Can I Know Who’s Looking at My Timeline or How Often It’s Being Viewed?
- Science 2.0: Who Is Stalking You On Facebook?
- Today Tech: Can the Guy Across the Office Tell If You’ve Been Stalking Him on Facebook?
- SocialNewsDaily: “On the Rebound” Brings Facebook Stalking to a Whole New Level
- Naked Security: Can You See Who Viewed Your Facebook Profile? Scammers Would Like You to Think So
- New York Times: To Stem Juvenile Robberies, Police Trail Youths Before the Crime
Joanna Polisena has been writing professionally since obtaining a high school mentorship at her hometown's city newspaper. Her work has appeared in daily newspapers, an employment agency's monthly newsletter and various corporate multimedia productions. She earned an AA in letters, arts and sciences from Pennsylvania State University.