Over 2.6 billion monthly active users use Facebook. So, the main question arises, is it safe to use Facebook? Facebook is a secure and safe social networking website. It has built-in security and privacy settings, which keeps our privacy and safeguard our personal information. But sometimes an individual can become a victim of Facebook stalking.
Cyberstalkers most often use social media websites to target their victim. Facebook is among the best social media platform to get connected to anyone. A cyberstalker can use Facebook to threaten and harass a victim. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or other social media platforms where the victim is an active user can become the easiest way to reach him/her.
According to a survey on online harassment conducted by the Pew Research Centre’s American Trends Panel in July 2017, about 40% to 41% of American people who are using social media websites are experiencing these types of cyberstalking problems regularly. 18% of them were severely affected. Sometimes it is a minor problem, but sometimes it becomes severe. The gender which is targeted the most, are women.
There is no fixed or legal definition of stalking. It can vary with laws of states. All states in the United States have their cyberstalking laws. We will learn about these laws in the latter part of the article.
So for an idea, stalking means “An unwanted or specific behavior towards a person directly or indirectly to make him/her feel unsafe or distressful is known as stalking.”
Similarly, “Facebook stalking can be defined as where one Facebook user follows the online activities of another user and causes emotional distress, unnecessary fear, a threat to life, or other trouble.”
A Facebook stalker can be a girlfriend, boyfriend, friend, enemy, batchmate, relative, neighbor, or any other stranger.
What is Facebook Stalking?
Facebook claims there is nothing like Facebook stalking, but people keep trying to stalk people on Facebook. Do you know what a Facebook stalker can do? A Facebook stalker can do many abnormal activities on social media and can stalk you or your friends, for example,
- a cyberstalker can check your public profile,
- send unnecessary messages and pictures,
- trace your social media activities,
- intrude your personal life,
- likes and comments on every photograph,
- look at your Facebook page using other Facebook page,
- or befriend your friends to get more information about you.
In physical stalking or surveillance stalking, the stalker chases an individual and his/her social activities. While in cyberstalking, a stalker uses the internet, technology, or electronic means without physical contact to stalk a victim.
Who is Facebook Stalker?
We have already discussed Instagram Stalker or Instastalker. Let’s talk about Facebook stalker. The action defines the types of stalking but when personalities combined with the action that defines the stalker. There are following types of Facebook stalkers:
Unlike other types of stalkers, a quiet stalker never sends a message, like, comment, or poke you but always check your profile, view photos, status, and stories, and judge you for every activity.
Facebook has an option to follow a person without being his/her friend. A Facebook follower can stalk you as a follower and have access to your public profile and posts.
Such a Facebook stalker likes all your photos, cover photos, stories, and posts and makes sure you are aware of stalking activities.
This type of stalker feels confident that you will like his/her comments on your posts, photos, and stories.
This type of stalker will send you a friendship request and let you know that he/she is the best one who can be your best friend, and that’s why you should accept his/her Friend request.
Psycho Friend Requester
A psycho friend requester immediately sends a new friend request as you cancel his/her previous request. You may need to block such a friend requester.
A timepass stalker message to spend time and enjoy with an unknown person like you. The language may be funny, humorous, or irritating.
Love or jealousy can bring back your ex into your life. He/she can turn into a Facebook stalker to check how’s your life going or find scuttlebutt about you.
Types of Stalkers
After knowing the type of Facebook stalkers, learn little about the type of stalkers. It will be helpful to identify a cyberstalker. Many psychologists have tried to categories the types of stalkers. These are the following-
A person becomes sad/distress when his/her romantic relationship or friendship ended. Such Facebook stalkers can be self-centers, jealous, over-dependent, and persistent also.
This type of FB stalker feels humiliated due to a breakup. They seek revenge from the victim and can verbally humiliate him/her.
Such a stalker seeks power and sexual gratification. They do not make any physical appearance but uses surveillance to enquire about the victim.
This stalker seeks a romantic relationship with the victim. A rejected FB stalker can continually phone the victim, write letters, and become jealous when the victim enters into a new relationship.
It is another stalker who usually has inadequate social skills.
How to Know Who Stalks Me on Facebook?
Are these questions ever came in your minds?
- Who stalks me on Facebook?
- Who stalked me on Facebook?
- How to tell if someone is stalking you on Facebook?
- How to see who’s stalking you on Facebook?
- How to know if someone is stalking you on Facebook timeline?
- How to see who is stalking your Facebook profile?
- How do you know who is stalking you on Facebook?
Friend Requests from Unknowns
When users get a friend request from any other Facebook user whom they don’t know.
Pictures of Friends on Your Profile
When you check your Facebook profile, there is a list of “Friends”. Facebook does not display pictures of your friends. It is the part of the Facebook algorithm, which gives the user insight that has recently viewed or visited his/her profile.
Facebook Friends List Order Stalking
The Facebook algorithm brings those friends up in the list with whom you are connected frequently. So, it is quite easy to identify who has not talked to you recently, and that will be a sign that the user is stalking you on Facebook.
Unaccepted Friend Requests
Sometimes when you get a friend request and do not accept that or block the user. But friend requests are coming again and again, or that person reappears with a new profile and trying to connect with you. Then it is definitely a warning sign that he/she is paying so much attention, and it’s one who’s stalking you on Facebook.
Another useful feature is the active sessions that you should not ignore. That feature lets you see where and when your Facebook account was signed in. It also allows you to know what device was used. You can become extra sure that your Facebook account is hacked.
How to Find Facebook Stalkers?
It can be hard to tell at first if someone is stalking you on Facebook or is just exceptionally interested in your life. Here are some tips for finding FB stalkers:
Facebook stalker comments on your every post. Such a person wants your attention, and there is the only way to get all your attention.
A Facebook stalker who comments on your old posts goes through your Facebook timeline and find past posts.
A Facebook stalker can like all your photos to show extreme interest in you.
They send you private messages in inbox, those messages may be frequent, or they could have gained some knowledge only by taking a deep dive into your profile.
Top of Your Friend List
They show up at the top of your friend list, Facebook’s algorithm puts those people who interact with you the most (or whom you interact with the most) at the top of your friend list. If someone is not a close friend and appears at the top of the friend list, this is a red flag for Facebook stalking.
Request on Other Social Media
They request to follow you on other social media sites. If any user is suddenly getting requests on all your social media accounts from an unknown person, it is a sign that they want to know even more about you.
How to Prevent Facebook Stalking?
Suppose a person is being stalked by someone and becomes a victim of Facebook stalking. So, the best way to avoid cyberstalking is to deactivate the Facebook account for some time until and unless the matter not solved. Apart from all that if you want to take a risk and want to continue the use of Facebook, then it should be beneficial for a FB stalker to follow your actions, and you can’t prevent yourself from Facebook stalking:
Accept Friend Request Wisely
The best way to avoid cyberstalking is to keep the profile private, use privacy settings, and avoid accepting unnecessary friend requests.
Keep Your Personal Data Private
You should never to post the following information-
- Any clue of your login details and passwords
- Maiden names
- Contact information, like phone number, email, address, etc.
- Anything about family members, especially kids and parents
- Photos of your kids
- Don’t tag family members and relatives to photos
- Vacation plans, wait until you return home
- Financial details or even bank name
Turn off Active Status
Don’t let strangers see your Facebook profile. The more invisible the users make themselves on Facebook. There are fewer chances that a potential Facebook stalker will access to your personal information.
Use Privacy Settings
Add a Facebook friend who’s making you uncomfortable with your restricted list. This prevents them from seeing anything you post on Facebook unless it’s public. To do so, navigate to their profile. Select the Friends from the dropdown box near their cover photo (Select the option “Add to another list…”, and then select Restricted).
To Unfriend someone on Facebook means that a person can no longer see your posts that aren’t public. To do this, go to that person’s profile (Select the Friends from the dropdown box and then select Unfriend). The person you unfriend will not get any notification, but they’ll able to see your profile unless you block them.
Blocking goes beyond unfriending. The person won’t be able to see your profile and timeline. If a FB stalker doesn’t find you even after searching for your name and you won’t come up in the search results. Importantly the person you blocked will not be notified.
There are three dots next to the Message button. Click on this, and the Block option will appear in the dropdown. Confirm the blocking, and that’s it.
If someone is doing Facebook stalking at the extreme, consider reporting them to Facebook. There is a remedy to this problem — filing a complaint online?
A person who is being stalked can complain to the cyberstalking authorities. But some ofo us choose to ignore their Facebook stalker because they have a thought in their mind that the police will not help.
Cyberstalking Laws by State in the US
Cyberstalking is a crime in the United States. In basic definition, cyberstalking states, “The repeated pursuit of an individual using electronic or internet devices” (Reyns al., 2012, p.1). These repeated pursuits are using unwanted communications using electronic or internet devices, which includes intent to kill, threats, injure, harassment, or creates a sense of fear and the stress in the victim.
Cyberstalking can happen to any individual. In this, the cyberstalker stalks the victim at any time and from anywhere in the world at any distance. The action of crime, stalking, and harassment leads to making laws that govern cyberstalking to some degree. The laws and legislation protect an individual from stalking and harassment even before the introduction of the internet in society.
But many states have amended and added their legislation to protect an individual from cyberstalking. To produce a comprehensive list of cyberstalking laws by states in the United States, we reference different sources, as shown in the table below:
|Table: Cyberstalking laws by state|
|State||Relevant law(s)||State||Relevant law(s)|
|Alabama||13 A-11-8||Montana||5-5-220, 45-8-213|
|California||422, 528.5, 646.9, 653.2, 653m, Civil code: 1708.7||New Jersey||2C:12-10, 2C:33-4|
|Colorado||18-9-111, 18-3-602||New Mexico||30-3A-3|
|Connecticut||53a-182b, 53a-183||New York||240.3|
|Georgia||16-5-90, 16-5-91||North||14-196, 14-196.3, 14-|
|Illinois||720 ILCS 5/12-7.5, 720, 135/1-3, 720 ILCS135/2, ILCS 135/1-2, 720 ILCS||Ohio||2903.211, 2917.21|
|Indiana||35-45-2-2, 35-45-10-1, 35-45-10-2, 35-45-10-5||Oklahoma||21-820-1173, 21-850-1172,21-1953|
|Iowa||708.7||Oregon||163.730, 163.732, 166.065|
|Kansas||21-3438, 21-6206||Pennsylvania||18-2709, 18-2709.1|
|Kentucky||525.08||Rhode Island||11-52-4.2, 11-52-4.3|
|Louisiana||14:40.2, 14:40.3||South||16-3-1700, 16-17-430, 16-3-|
|Maine||17-A 210A||Carolina||1710, 16-3-1720, 16-3-1730|
|Maryland||3-805||South Dakota||49-31-31, 22-19A-1|
|Massachusetts||265-43, 265-43A||Tennessee||12.1-17-07, 39-17-315, 39-17-308|
|Michigan||750.411h, 750.411i,750.411s||Texas||33.07, 42.07|
|Minnesota||609.749, 609.795||Utah||76-5-106.5, 76-9-201|
|Mississippi||97-45-15, 97-45-17, 97-29-45||Vermont||13-1027, 13-1061, 13-1062, 13-1063, 13-1027|
|Missouri||565.090, 565.225||Virginia||18.2-60, 18.2-152.7:1|
- Cyber Stalking and Cyber Harassment Legislation in the United States: A Qualitative Analysis, Steven D. Hazelwood1 & Sarah Koon-Magnin, University of South Alabama, US (PDF)
- Cyber Misbehavior, An Introduction to Violent Crime on the Internet, By Joey L. Blanch and Wesley L. Hsu, May 2016, Volume 60 (PDF)