Social Media Stalking
It’s a Friday evening and you’re enjoying a drink at the pub with your work friends. You snap a picture and post it to your stories, tagging the bar and go on with your evening without another thought. But what seems like a harmless action, gave away some important information about you. Your location at that moment, who is with you and the knowledge that you may be intoxicated.
Facebook opened its virtual doors to the public in 2006. Ever since, we’ve seen a flurry of social media platforms emerge. Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and now Tik Tok, social networking continues to grow. Chances are you’re on at least one of these platforms. Or many. Sharing images from your day-to-day life and engaging with friends (or strangers). Social media can be great for engaging with your community, building friendships and finding support. It has made our lives much more accessible to everyone. But it’s not all good news. Updating your status, sharing pictures, your location and plans can make you vulnerable.
What is Cyber Stalking?
When we talk about social media stalking (cyber stalking), we’re not talking about checking your ex’s feed. Because well, everyone does that. Cyber stalking and social media stalking are when someone harasses or intimidates you online. It can take the form of sending uninvited messages. Sending lurid images or content to you. Posting defamatory things online about you or sharing intimate pictures of you. In extreme cases it can progress to hacking your accounts. Using social media to track where you are to find you or threats or acts of physical violence.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 19% of women and 7% of men will experience stalking in their lifetime.
With the rise of social media and the advancements in technology stalkers can track people through their online presence or even through track my phone apps, giving them access to detailed location tagging to find their victims. Cyber harassment and stalking are a serious issue. We have some tips to help you safeguard yourself from this kind of behaviour.
Check your Settings
Social media sites give you the option of setting your account to private. Beyond this basic setting, there are usually additional privacy settings. This includes selecting which groups of your friends can see which parts of your content. Review all your privacy setting regularly and make sure only those you want to see it can see your accounts.
Consider your Content
Deciding on rules about what you post and when you post it can help to safeguard against cyber harassment and stalkers. For example, when posting images, don’t use location tagging. Or, consider posting your photos the day after an event when you are no longer at that location.
Watch your feed and comments on your post
If you go to the effort of not tagging the location and posting a picture the following day, these precautionary measures can be undone if a friend comments on your post. They might give away the location and mention plans to go there again. Something like ‘Last night was great! I love the Foundry. See you there on Friday?’
When something like this happens contact your friend. Explain your new social media system and explain why it is important. Ask them to respect your wishes. A good friend will do that. If they don’t, delete their comments.
Curate your followers
While it’s nice to see your numbers grow on social media, you need to be aware of who your followers are. Anyone who is in your followers or friends list can see all your private content and this means they can also screenshot it too.
If you’re unsure about someone remove them or restrict their access to your account.
Screenshot, Report and Block
If a shady character sends you a message or comments on your posts and you feel uncomfortable, don’t waste time engaging with them. Screenshot the abuse, report the account and block them.
Be wary of new friend requests
Don’t accept friend or follow requests from people you don’t know. Even if they look harmless enough, this is the internet, and anyone can set up a fake profile to harass you online. Be on the safe side and ignore these kinds of requests. If they aren’t important in real life, they aren’t important on social media.
While social media can be a wonderful avenue for keeping in touch, there are ways to be safe about it.
You can find more information on safeguarding yourself online here.
So if you find yourself having issues with Social Media stalking and you would like to have a private investigator look into it for you, Integral Investigations are here to help. Please head to our home page or contacts page and send us an inquiry.
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