How to Find Out Who Is Harassing Me on Facebook
By Leah Waldron-Gross
If you are Internet-savvy socialite, cyber bullying and social media stalking form part of the digital landscape. In a world where harassers create a new identities in a matter of key strokes, puzzling out the abuser proves a frustrating challenge. More often than not, a cyberstalker is a spurned partner or friend. Finding him -- or her -- may not be easy, but a little detective work or help from an outside agency yields results.
The Personal Connection
If your cyberstalker knows personal information about you, particularly the names of your friends or family members, earlier events in your life, or any information that is not published online, the harasser may be a former partner, colleague or friend with a grudge. If you have experienced domestic violence in real life, the same abuser may be continuing the behavior from behind the safety of a privacy block.
Peruse the Profile
Facebook's privacy settings permit a user reveal all, some or none of his personal information. If your stalker left a few of his profile settings open, peruse his timeline, photos, friend list or "about" page for identity clues. For example, check the harasser's "about" page for his location, employer or educational background. If the stalker used a pseudonym for his Facebook name, perform an Internet search of the handle, which may lead to other searchable profiles on other social media websites.
Outside Identification Help
Facebook warns users to un-friend, block, and report any online harassment to Facebook administrators, but this may only stop the problem temporarily. The abuser may create another Facebook profile or contact you on another social media website. If the online harassment continues, contact your local law enforcement agency or a private investigator to help with the identification process. If you suspect that the cyberstalker is a former girlfriend or boyfriend, notify your state's Department of Children and Family Services for additional identification help. Finally, report the abuse to your ISP provider, who may be able to track down the culprit.
Preventing Future Abuse
Change all of your Internet passwords, particularly if you suspect that the cyber stalker may have had access to your computer or mobile device.
Do not use your real name when creating a Facebook profile. If you prefer to use your real name, use all of the available privacy blocks and limit any personal information -- such as your birthday and location -- in your "About" page. You can also create a secondary Facebook account -- with a pseudonym handle -- and keep your friend list limited to your best friends and immediate family.
Leah Waldron is the head of Traveler Services at First Abroad, a gap year travel company based in Boston and London. As a travel, research and LGBT news writer, Waldron has publication credit on magazines and newspapers including "Curve Magazine," "USA Today," "The Sun Sentinel" and the "The Houston Chronicle." Waldron has a bachelor's and master's degree in creative writing from Florida State University.