When we are talking about stalking we think about a person who is dressed in black, with a hood on their head who is following us around the city, and who is hiding in the bushes, trying to take pictures of us. But what people are not conscious about is that stalking has reached another level lately, people are stalking other people on social media, and it is as creepy as when you are stalked physically. Creeping is the term used when you want to refer to stalking someone on social media.
How do you feel when you think that there is someone who is browsing constantly through your timeline, and checks every one of your tweets, posts, likes, updates and bios, with the purpose to find out everything about you.
Studies show that around 2% of people are being stalked on social media. The phenomenon of stalking has increased because nowadays technology offers people the possibility to find almost everything they want about other people.
Social media takes the information out there
Have you ever analysed the information you post online? Do you know what personal details you offer to other people through your social media channels? Let’s take Facebook, this platform is used to interact with other people, and if you want to keep your privacy, then you should interact only with the people you know. If you keep your profile private and you have only friends you actually know, you can consider it a safe app to use. But you should know that the information you provide to create your profile can be accessed by any viewer.
On your profile page people can find information about the place where you live, your hometown, where you went to college and school, your workplace, your age, what places you like to visit, where you have been recently and everything you like to do.
Facebook is the place where a stalker can start, they find out basic information about you, and they can continue by using Instagram and Snapchat. These two are social media channels that encourage their users to post photos and to share their location when they are in a specific place. Are you at a party, then you should share your location with everyone, to show your virtual friends how much fun you are having. This means that your stalkers can have an instant notification of your location, and if today they are satisfied with stalking you online, tomorrow maybe they would want to see you face to face.
Snapchat is considered the application that encourages people to become stalkers, because every user has the possibility to share their to-the-minute location. The app will show your movements on a map, so if there is someone interested to find out what you are doing and where do you use to go, they only have to follow you on Snapchat.
Can we do something to avoid being cyberstalker?
Well, we are the ones who are posting the information online, and this means that we are the ones that can control the process. You can take a simple precaution and you will protect yourself from being followed by people you would not want to know what you are doing daily. You should censor the information you choose to share with your followers. Or in case you are open about your life, you should choose wisely the moment when you share your posts.
You should not post a picture or offer information about your location, instantly, you should wait a few hours before posting. You can offer your location if you are in a mall or in a park, because they are popular places, but you should not reveal to your virtual friends where you use to do groceries and what gym classes you attend.
When it comes to censoring the information that you post online, it is important to think twice before you share something, because if you want to apply for a new job, your future employers may do a background search on social media to try to find out more about you. Make sure that you post only details that would show you in a positive manner.
Can you tell if someone is stalking you on social media?
It is quite difficult to find out who is stalking you on social media if the person is not taking over activity. If they do not comment or like your posts and pictures then you may not even be aware that there is someone who is checking your posts repetitively. Facebook and Instagram do not offer their users the possibility to see who has visited their profiles, or who checked their photos and posts.
On Twitter and Instagram you can see all your followers, but they can set certain privacy settings and you cannot find out anything about them. LinkedIn offers you the possibility to find out who viewed your profile, during the last three months.