I used to only periodically hear about Online Stalkers. And for the most part these were fools who harrassed the younger generation. Lately though I am hearing lots of people talking about Online Stalkers harassing business folks, not just our kids. And, often these stalking issues are not just on Facebook. It’s happening on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and WordPress as well.
There are four things you could do when you encounter an Online Stalker:
- Deactivate your Social Media Profiles – DO NOT DO THIS!
- Tolerate the stalker and engage with him (or her) online – DO NOT DO THIS!
- Hunt him (or her) down like a wild animal and castrate or neuter him (or her) with a dull knife – I wish, but Nope, we can’t do this.
- Block, Flag and Report the Stalker as a menace to society, or at least to the Authoriti – YES!
There are lots of different ways to block people on Facebook
- Defriend – If you have previously Friended your Stalker and now know it was a mistake, you will need to DeFriend them. See Facebook’s help on Defriending someone for more info. Defriending someone will not prohibit your Stalker from seeing your posts. You will need some of the other options listed below.
- Blocking – This is the ultimate in Defriending and making a Stalker go away on Facebook. See Facebook Help on Blocking.
- Privacy Settings – Set your activity on Facebook to be viewable by Friends & Friends of Friends, Everyone or Custom. You need to review your Privacy Settings in order to know clearly how to use this functionality in Facebook. It is one of the most important Privacy Features in Facebook. You can change your Privacy Settings on individual pictures and posts. Take a look at your Facebook Privacy Settings and understand this functionality clearly.
- You can always Report a Violation which includes Bullying, Imposters, and Hate Crimes. See Facebook’s Report a Violation Page for help with this.
- Facebook takes Online Safety serious. Safety for Children, Students, Community, etc. Take a look at Facebook’s Safety Center for more information about Online Safety issues and solutions.
Twitter has a few features built in to stop Stalkers
- Blocking – Blocking is a simple way to make someone go away. You Block someone after you click on their Twitter Handle. Currently it’s the down arrow on head icon to the right of Follow or Following icon.
- Report – Reporting Spammers is our responsibility. If we don’t do it, it won’t get done. The Reporting option is in the same place as Blocking (above).
- Reporting Abuse or Policy Violations – It’s important to know what is Abuse & what are Policy Violations. Read the Reporting Abuse or Policy Violations page so that you are informed of what you and other can do in Twitter. This is good stuff to know.
- More Serious infractions of privacy violation or Stalkers can be reported to Twitter thru their Protecting your Private information Pages. Read these pages for more help.
LinkedIn has even less functionality to block a Stalker of your LinkedIn Profile. Here are the options available in LinkedIn
- Control who can see your Public Profile – This restricts your profile from others who may want and need to see your profile for beneficial reasons. However, if your Stalker is using this information to harrass you, make different sections of you profile hidden from people you are not connected to. See Public Profile Settings for more information.
- Control who can send you LinkedIn Invites. This restricts your ability to be accessible, but it may be needed in order for a Stalker to go away. You can always restrict your accessibility and then open it up later on. See – Controlling LinkedIn Invites for more information. Set this LinkedIn feature – HERE (under Email Tab)
- Removing Comments on your Posts – If someone posts an inappropriate comment on your Post, the only option you have available to you is to Delete the comment. Unfortunately for those being stalked, there is no Report or Block function on Individual Status posts on your Profile.
- Group Comments – You can flag a comment to your post (and any other post in groups you belong in), as Flag Inappropriate. This removes the comment into a Flag Queue for the Group moderators to review. See Flagging Inappropriate Comments for more information
- Group Moderator Assistance – If your Stalker joined a group you are a member of, and they are not providing any value to the group, you can contact the Group Moderator directly and have the Stalker possibly removed from the group.
Pinterest does not have a feature to block stalkers, yet. They know they need one, but as of August 12,2012 – they have not implemented a solution. They do however have the following:
- Dealing with Inappropriate Comments – If someone comments on one of your Pins, the only option you have is to “X” or delete the comment. Hopefully Pinterest will add the ability to Flag as Inappropriate and/or Block commenters in future releases.
- Dealing with Spam in Pinterest and Reporting a Pin – More and more inappropriate marketers are using Pinterest for their SPAM. Pinterest wants you to “Report Pin” if you see this. See Report an Inappropriate Pin.
Lets hope that Pinterest creates more functions for dealing with Spammers & Stalkers in the future.
WordPress sites are by their nature, fully accessible to the world. Yes, you can choose to have individual posts as Private or Password protected, but for the most part Posts are accessible to everyone.
What WordPress does allow you to do is to manage the comments the public puts on your Posts.
Here are some WordPress settings (as of 8/12/2012) that are worth exploring if you have a Stalker
- Enable/disable Comments on Posts or Pages
- Require commenters to enter Name & email address
- Require commenters to be registered WordPress users
- Close comments on older posts
- Moderate Comments
- New commenters must be moderated
- Comments with Links can be held for moderation
- Moderate comments with specific words, URLS, IP address, Email address
- Blacklist comments with specific words, URLS, IP address, Email address (goes to spam)
WordPress does a good job of helping handle the Stalkers.
In Summary – Online Stalkers are a pain in the butt. Please do not deactivate your Social Media Account if you get Stalked. Use the Privacy and Security features available to you to handle this issue.
And if all else fails, consider calling for help from experts who can either solve your problem with internet tools or a big piece of wood. My number is 336-283-6121