Friday, August 21st, 2009 | Author:

Have we here a Facebook Stalker?!

Of great consideration to online privacy are facebook stalkers. If a stalker randomly manages to add a few of your friends and you have your Profile Privacy Settings allowing “Friends of Friends” to see everything then your stalker effectively has access to your profile even without having added you.

I’ve now adjusted my privacy settings more strictly and I’ve used the “See how a friend sees your profile:” tool to get an idea of how it changes things.

My “Basic” Information I had available to “Friends of Friends”. This includes “Gender, Birthday, Hometown, Political and Religious Views and Relationship Status” according to Facebook’s description. You might think it fair that friends of your friends have an idea of how you roll.

But can you trust all your friends anti-stalker spidey-senses?

I think NOT.

I previously had it that friends of friends can see my photos and videos but not much else. I’m thinking of changing that now too.

But wait, there’s More!

Further to this, we should be vigilant of “fake” Facebook profiles. Stalkers are usually apt enough to create more than one account with fake names. If you block one they create another and attempt to get a glance at your profile once more. I’ve created a friend group called “Privacy Pls”. This group is limited from being able to see anything other than a very basic page. This “basic” view is akin to when you first started using Facebook and didn’t know you could add lots of stuff in there (stuff you later realised you didn’t want anyway).

If someone adds me and I’m not absolutely sure who it is, I add them to my “Privacy Pls” group. Also if someone adds me and I don’t want to offend them by ignoring their invite I’ll rather add them to this group. Perhaps you feel you have a pervy boss for example.

But Wait! There’s More – and this time you can do it TOO!

To do this for yourself, go to your Friends page, click “Create New List”, and name it something appropriate – “Privacy Pls” in my case. Add the appropriate friends to this list now or add any future “suspect” friends to the group.

Next, go to the Profile Privacy Settings page. Underneath each section you will find a “Edit Custom Settings” button. Click the first one and, at the bottom of the dialog that pops up, you will find “Except these people”. Add your “Privacy Pls” group here. Do the same for all the sections you don’t want them to see. When done, use the “friend’s view” tool to confirm what is made available to persons on that list.

And the Friend-of-Friend Stalker?

To prevent your “Friend-of-Friend” Stalker from being able to see your profile, do yourself a favour and think very critically about what you want potential stalkers to be able to see. Now go change those Privacy Settings to “Only Friends”.

For the Photo Crazy

Check up on your Photo Album Privacy settings. This is set up much the same as your profile settings. Consider carefully who you want to be able to see which photo albums and adjust the permissions appropriately!

Your Personal Contact Information

Lastly, check up on your Contact Information: Click the “Profile” button towards the top left of the Facebook page to get to your profile. Then click on the “Info” tab within your profile. When you mouseover the Contact Information section you will see an “Edit” link pop up on the right. Click this button to start editing your details.

Next to each item you will find a “lock” icon. Click this lock to define further permissions for which friends are able to see the items. You’ve never give your address and phone details to a dodgy stranger you meet on the street. Why do we then go and give it away to everyone on the Internet. I recommend the following:

  • Allow “No one” on:
    • email address
  • Allow “Only Friends” on:
    • IM Screen Names
  • Remove completely or allow “No one” on:
    • mobile phone number
    • landline number
  • Limit the following:
    • address details – give your area or suburb – but NOT your full address

Hopefully we don’t all have to learn our lessons the hard way.

P.S. (especially to the guys and gals who have asked) I’ve been extremely busy these last couple of weeks. I have a lot of unedited content I’m hoping to make publishable very soon!

Category: privacy, security
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2 Responses

  1. 1

    Hi Tricky,

    Your post is very enlightening, and I have made some adjustments to my profile, not that I have anything secret there!!
    For the younger generation and or desireable people of all ages, stricter profiles are a must.

    I’m reminded of an article published in the Techno Times, August 18 2009, “Facebook can give away the game on relationship cheaters” It focused on ostensibly innocent pics uploaded to Facebook by any friend, later sparking off jelousy in other friends . Food for thought.

    I’d like to have a trackback on several WP sites I’m involved with. How do I do this – I’m very new to WP (e.g what is “Trackback URL). One site is my own, the other at the school where I work – you know which one 🙂

  2. 2

    What a fantastic post !
    This is so chock full of useful information. Your exuberance for writing is great.

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