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The answer basically comes down to not just relying on the technical safety settings alone. The security settings are very important but they are not all that important. What do I mean? I mean that you have to watch your own back. There are some principles you must abide by if you are to really keep yourself safe from Facebook stalkers in the social networking community we call Facebook.
Check The Security Settings
These are still a wall of defense that should not be ignored. Mahendra wrote an awesome article highlighting 10 solid tips to safeguard your Facebook privacy. In his article he shares many good tips on how to set the privacy settings to where you want them.
Get A Handle On Your Friends
Another tip Mahendra gives is to organize your friends into lists giving you more flexible privacy controls.
Good advice. You need to go through your friends and see how well you know and trust each one.
Only Add People That You Know
Some people will almost add anyone as a friend. As Ryan wrote in his article, people are more willing to add someone if they share some friends. It’s either peer pressure or that they feel more secure if other friends can “vouch” for them. If you don’t know someone, don’t add them.
Verify Those Who Say You Know Them
What about when people pretend to be your friends, like in Ryan’s article? Make sure you know they are who they say they are. Give them the fifth degree. If they are offended just because you’re trying to be safe, that’s not your problem. Ask them something only they would know. Send a few messages back and forth to make sure you’re both on the same page.
Be Careful About Long Lost Friends
We all know that there are several levels of “friends.” This is one reason Mahendra’s advice about friend lists is important. On your list of friends you have everything from that dude you walked by that one time back 20 years ago in college all the way to your closest relative that you eat breakfast with every day. Go back to Mahendra’s article and tweak your privacy settings accordingly.
Also, every time you post an update you can control who sees that update. You can choose individuals or lists that can or cannot see that update. Use this feature! I use it all the time for showing updates to certain people. Check it out…
- Click the padlock under the update field :
- Then click customize. You will be given the options for who can see that individual update.
Realize That Anything Online Is Not Truly Safe
What if a friend wanted to share something that was protected with someone else? They can still do this. They can even copy and past whole conversations and send them to people. There are programs (such as Bloom mentioned in this article) that aid in downloading whole photo albums which will give people the ability to post your photos wherever they see fit.
What’s my point? Follow this principle: If there is something you do not want spread about, do not post it online, anywhere. Also, realize that someone using Ryan’s method could use anything you post against you to make you think they’re someone you know. The only precautions you can take against Facebook Stalkers is to be careful what you share and be aware of the methods being used against you.
These three areas of safety concern should help you begin your journey to being safe from predators on Facebook. Facebook is a useful tool and a fun one too. Unfortunately it can be a dangerous one too. I urge you to treat your online dealings in much the same way you treat your offline dealings. What I mean by this is that often we know better than to let a stranger in our house (locks, asking who they are, etc.) but we forget these same principles online.
What other tips could you share to keep us safe from online stalkers on Facebook?