Facebook is a great platform for networking. You can reconnect with old friends from school or stay in touch with family and friends who live far away. Facebook makes it easy to find and get in touch with people. However, this feature can haunt you when someone you wish you had never met won’t stop messaging and harassing you.
If your stalker’s prime route of contact is through Facebook, there are several things you can do to block that Facebook stalker and make it difficult for them to contact you. This article will guide you through the options you have. The two final steps can also help to never attract a stalker in the first place.
If the Facebook stalker is or was on your friend list, unfriending them is not enough. Anyone not your friend on Facebook can still search and find your profile and see everything that you share with everyone. The only way to exclude that person, especially if you have mutual friends on Facebook, is to block them.
There are three different routes through which you can block people.
1. Via Your Block Lists
You can block both people and applications.
In Facebook, go to > Account > Privacy Settings and find the item called > Block Lists at the bottom of the page. Click the > Edit your lists link to proceed.
On the following page you can enter Facebook users by name and email address and block them.
If there are several people with the same name, you will see a list of matching profiles. Click the > Block button next to the person you were looking for.
2. Via Their Profile
On each Facebook user profile there is a > Report/Block this Person link at the bottom left. Click this link and a window will pop up that allows you to make a selection.
For example, you could report the person for > Unwanted contact and check the box to > Block this person. If you go with the block, the name will appear in your Block Lists, as described above.
3. Via Their Messages
If the person you wish to block has sent you any messages, you can block them by clicking the > Report link next to their name and the date the message was received. To see the link you must open the message. Once you click it, a window with further options will pop up.
Note that no one you block will be notified of the action. However, if they are on your friend list, they will be removed and your profile will not be visible to them. Likewise, you won’t be able to view their profile. You both will be invisible to each other, with the exception of third party applications.
If you accidentally blocked someone, you can easily remove the block. Go to your Block Lists and click the > Unblock link next to the person’s name. You will be asked to confirm. Unblocking a person will not restore a previous connection.
4. Remove Your Basic Directory Information
If you have a serious stalker, chances are they will just set up a new Facebook account once you block them. In this case you should consider making your profile private, so that strangers can not find and harass you.
The first thing you should do, is remove as much of yourself as possible from the > Basic Directory Information. Go to > Account > Privacy Settings and click on > View Settings.
On the following page you can define who can search and find you on Facebook, send friend requests or messages, see your friend list, and more. For each item choose carefully from the following options: Everyone, Friends of Friends, or Friends Only.
Unfortunately, you cannot completely hide yourself. Facebook states that “your name, profile picture, gender, and network are always open to everyone.” This explains why.
5. Tighten Your Privacy Settings
Besides restricting basic directory information, you should also restrict who can see the things you are sharing. Go back to > Account > Privacy Settings and click the > Customize settings to adjust your > Sharing on Facebook options. You can also choose from a default setting.
A new page with a list of options will open. Go through all the points and decide who you want to see your posts, your personal information, or things others share with you. You can choose from Everyone, Friends of Friends, Friends Only, or Customize each point and make the information visible to only yourself or hide it from specific people.
It goes without saying that Facebook is just one medium through which a person can stalk you. No matter how tight your privacy settings or how trustworthy the people on your friend list are, someone determined to find and harass you still has the rest of the internet at their disposal. Be sure to treat your personal information, your contact data, and your online privacy in general like a raw egg.
This article can only scratch on the surface. For more detailed information, check out The (Very) Unofficial Facebook Privacy Manual written by my colleague Angela.
Here are several more articles you may find helpful:
- 6 Simple Tips To Protect Your Privacy on Facebook
- How to Remove False Information about Yourself on the Internet
Image credits: Ronen Boidek