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Hidden dangers of the Facebook stalker

Domenic Ierullo | Interrobang | Opinion | September 24th, 2007



Editorial opinions or comments expressed in this online edition of Interrobang newspaper reflect the views of the writer and are not those of the Interrobang or the Fanshawe Student Union. The Interrobang is published weekly by the Fanshawe Student Union at 1001 Fanshawe College Blvd., P.O. Box 7005, London, Ontario, N5Y 5R6 and distributed through the Fanshawe College community. Letters to the editor are welcome. All letters are subject to editing and should be emailed. All letters must be accompanied by contact information. Letters can also be submitted online by clicking here.
If you find yourself asking what Facebook is when you read this article, my question to you is, “Where the hell have you been for the last year?”

Unless you were living in a cave recently, you should not only know what Facebook is, but you should also be on it like a game-nerd on World of Warcraft. Facebook can be a great way to talk to your friends, show off your drunken party pictures and put your whole life on the Internet for others to see.

If used properly, it can create amazing opportunities for people with talent and it can be a lot of fun. What most people aren't aware of is that there are also many people whom you wouldn't want to share your life story with. These people have been coined as “Facebook Stalkers.”

I'm sure most of us have had a Facebook stalker before and have never even realized it. Nine-times-out-of-10 it's only browsing, but on occasion it may get a little serious. When somebody requests to be your friend, half the time we don't even bother looking at who it is. By adding somebody to your friends list, you have given that person the ability to check out your entire profile. Some of us are even stupid enough to write things like our home address and phone number in our profiles.

You may now be thinking, “That will never happen to me, I always make sure I know the person before adding them to my friends list.” Although this may be true, there are still ways for an unwanted guest to get into your profiles.

First of all, the person may be in the same network as you and your privacy settings may allow people in your network to view your profile. Secondly, people may see your profile in a group and may be able to browse your page from there. This, again, depends on your privacy settings. But lastly, somebody on your friends list may have a picture of you in his/her profile and have a creeper on their list. Although the person cannot view your entire profile, they can sometimes find out a lot about you simply by looking on the friend's page.

There are many ways for a person to find out a lot about you just by going online. Don't get me wrong, Facebook is a great way to stay connected to friends and meet new people through others. I myself have a Facebook account and find myself using it more than a regular person should. You just have to be careful of what you expose online because that weird guy sitting in the back of class who still collects Pokemon cards has the ability to find out everything about you via Facebook.

Just like your Grade six Sex Ed teacher told you, “Always wear protection.” But this time, instead of a condom, it's privacy settings.
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