Facebook is now working with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to terminate the Facebook accounts of inmates due to inappropriate behavior, often in the form of inappropriate sexual behavior.
One specific incident involved a minor who was stalked by her former predator via her Facebook profile. The inmate located photos of her on Facebook and used them to draw pictures that he then sent to her home.
Even though Facebook is working to shut down the profiles of prison inmates to the site, online stalkers will still be a threat. The tactics used by these inmates could very easily be used by anyone, whether in jail or not. The key to remaining safe on Facebook involves proactive protection on your part.
Here are our recommendations on what to do for two very likely social networking scenarios:
1) If you have unknowingly befriended a Facebook friend with ill intentions
Sometimes you “friend” someone who is not who you think they are. This is not difficult to do, considering how many friends and social circles each of us have. In addition, if someone is posing to be someone else, it can become very tricky to decipher who they really are. Here are some ways that our very own social networking security product, SocialGuard, could help you identify Facebook stalkers:
- Stranger Alert – SocialGuard will identify if someone doesn’t quite fit into your existing social circles and alert you of the potential threat.
- Inappropriate Content – When an online stalker conducts threatening behavior, whether it is in the form of cyberbullying or inappropriate posts, SocialGuard detects the content and notifies you of this as well.
- Age Detection – If the stalker is using Facebook to inappropriately target minors, SocialGuard’s unique algorithm can quickly identify if they are the age they claim to be and alerts you.
2) If you have been careful not to allow strangers to friend you, but ignored your privacy settings
As careful as you may be regarding who you let into your social network, if you are not fine-tuning your Facebook privacy settings, you are still putting yourself at risk. By default, much of your profile is viewable in Facebook, so you really should consider increasing your privacy settings for further protection.
1) After logging into your Facebook account, go to ‘Account’ in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.
2) In the drop-down, select ‘Privacy Preferences’
3) On the Privacy Preferences screen, select ‘Customize Settings’
4) This landing page stores all of your privacy settings. You can set each item so that only friends can view your personal info, including contact info, photos and posts.
*Please keep in mind that this only prevents outside individuals from looking into your Facebook page. A stalker posing as one of your Facebook friends is still a risk, in which case the 1st set of instructions apply.