New Facebook is stalker friendly

By on September 21, 2011
Anna Brundage

With every change Facebook makes, it becomes easier for creepers to creep.

Anna Brundage

Most Facebook users, including myself, would rather not admit that they spend most of their time logged on and aimlessly scrolling. It is the preferred tool for procrastination and a quick cure for boredom especially during finals or those killer three-hour classes.

Many longtime Facebook users may remember the basic layout and the simple photo uploader, bumper stickers and wall graffiti. As the old but fun add-ons are phased out, new features such as “Lists” and “On This Day” have been added.

Not only has the look and style of Facebook changed regularly over the years, but so has its uses. No longer is Mark Zuckerberg’s idea of simply connecting with friends the primary use of the site: More commonly individuals use Facebook’s endless features to creep.

Admittedly, I do find myself checking up on friends from high school or people I haven’t spoken to since middle school. There is some level of immoral entertainment in comparing lives with those individuals whose lives have gone in the exact opposite direction of your own. We all know this is true.

There is a difference, though, when comparing lives with people you have met in person or shared a class with to friending the person you sat next to in the café or share one brief drunk moment with. I am guilty of accepting requests from individuals I may not know well but generally a “friend” should be a friend. It is borderline stalking when you find and friend someone you only just met. Ironically, as I write this article, two friends of an acquaintance have proceeded to friend request me.

While the security settings are extensive – it is possible to completely block a person from viewing your entire existence online – the settings aren’t always quick and easy to use. One important Facebook fix would be to make those security settings proactive and user-friendly.

What truly bothers me is how easy it is for people to know almost everything about an individual in just a matter of seconds; much of the information has always been readily available but now it seems to be much more easily accessible by anyone searching for personal information. No longer is Facebook fun and friendly. Now it’s annoying and creepy.

Facebook now allows me to post to my own wall, rather than creating the original status (which remained at the top of the page), and labels the location from where I am posting. I do not want everyone to know where I am. If I feel it is important enough for someone to know where I am, I will tell them.

Also, there is now an option to categorize a new friend as a “friend,” an “acquaintance” or a list name of your choice. Along with becoming someone’s friend, the ability to subscribe to one’s profile is now available. You can remain friends with whomever you want and subscribe to posts from only those individuals you find worthy enough to follow.

I am not Facebook savvy but I am aware of the SMS subscription option, too. The fact that someone can receive texts when I post a status seems a bit much. In no way does it seem necessary for people to receive instant information about me, especially when my status refers to walking around the house sucking up spiders with the vacuum. Yes, that’s a bit ridiculous, but I think it’s more ridiculous that someone could have that information texted to one’s phone the second I post it.

As part of my regular spring cleaning, I freshen my Facebook. I apologize to those of you who did not survive my purge of friends and lucky for those of you who did. In all honesty, if I do not speak with you regularly, or at all, is there a need for the online connection? I do not have time to categorize my friends into neat lists and I am beginning to take note of the locations that are posted with my statuses.

I could easily find a friend from elementary school, who has extensive privacy settings, look at our friends in common, scroll through his page to pictures of the two of us, or post notes on each others walls. For those individuals who have more relaxed settings the “Friendship Page” is available, listing photos, wall posts, similar interests and comments.

The amount of personal information we all willingly and unwillingly post online could easily devastate anyone’s reputation. Once we post to Facebook, any content becomes public domain forever. Feel free to delete a picture but it will always linger online, somewhere, hidden.

I would love to deactivate my Facebook account, sadly I have fallen victim to the social network which keeps us all endlessly entertained.

Comments

About Anna Brundage

Senior Managing Editor
Email: multimedia@quchronicle.com
Twitter: @annalilybee
Year: 2013
Major: Print journalism
Hometown: Killingworth, Conn.
Dream Job: Photojournalist for National Geographic

8 Comments

  1. Jessica

    September 21, 2011 at 11:05 am

    Great article! And I totally agree! This “new” facebook is really getting under my skin.

  2. Kev Gooch

    September 21, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Leave it as it was, this new one is crazy, message from 10 mins ago, followed by one from 3hrs ago, then 1hr ago, then 6hrs ago, then 4hrs ago, then 6hrs ago, then 4hrs ago, then 27mins ago, which I would have missed if I hadn’t scrolled down about 4 pages…..RIDICULOUS!!!

    • Jessica

      September 21, 2011 at 11:37 am

      Yes. I want to see them from the time the post. Not see one from Sunday, then 2 min ago, then 7 hours, then back to Saturday. I mean it’s bs! I’m starting +Google and see how that works out. Of course, I’m still going to be addicted to Facebook…but I’ll have to widen my horizon with this “social networking”

  3. Tim

    September 21, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Maybe I’m missing something here, but the headline says that the new Facebook is stalker friendly. The sub-head says this is a progressive change.

    But the story doesn’t address how it is that the new changes in Facebook have made it easier for a stalker to stalk. Is there some new setting that allows “friends of friends” or “the world in general” to see what I’m doing? I don’t like the “new” facebook layout, but when I write an status update it’s there for anyone to see. If someone is sad enough to stalk me, they’ll be on my profile page and see it. The “new” facebook hasn’t changed that. Or has it? Because, if it has, then your article is of great importance, but poorly written because you don’t explain what this change is. And if it hasn’t, then your article is of no importance at all, and poorly written because the headline intentionally misleads.

    So, that’ll be a poorly written article then.

    • Ankit

      September 21, 2011 at 2:03 pm

      Maybe I got your point. But you went into too much details. See the article was not so bad, but your comment just states the obvious.
      Your comment could have been of great importance had it been brief and straight forward, but it turns out to be poorly written because you explain unnecessary stuff over and over again. And if it doesn’t, then it is hardly of any importance and poorly written, because it says so too many times.
      So that is a poorly written comment! (P.S. Just saying)

  4. Ed

    September 21, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    If you have time to whine about having to “spring clean” your fb friends list, you have waaaaay too much time on your hands. Turn off the computer and get a hobby.

  5. jessica

    September 21, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    Wow. Some people are so rude!!

  6. Lanie

    September 21, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    I’m not really concerned about the new look or having to adjust a million settings to get it how I want (the news and updates I want not what Facebook thinks I want). What has me concerned is this …and it does perhaps fit into how much easier it can be to stalk now and it is most definitely a privacy issue. It’s a such a great issue that I’m about to cross the line and deal with the withdrawal from the addiction to Facebook head on.

    This morning I started sorting through the friends. Ok, so who is family? Who is a “close friend”? Who is an acquaintance? Who’s from work? Who’s from school? Who’s from town? blah, blah, blah. After sorting out my friends I clicked on the “Close Friends” link to see what would show up in my news feed. Fact of the matter is, I was both shocked and appalled with what I found!

    A friend of mine had posted a comment on one of her friend’s pictures. I am not friend’s with this person with the picture but I was able to see the picture and all posts following it and that matter was extremely private! A mom who had lost her son to torture and a violent death – murder – was mourning her loss on this date which is her son’s birthday. You must understand I do not know this woman personally. I have never met her – in real life or online. I do know her story because of the friend we have in common and because my son went to school with her son. So yeah, I know of her and I know of the story.

    I went to her page directly thinking, oh well, maybe she’s just one of the many, many people that have no idea how to use or set their privacy settings. This was not so though. Without being her friend I could not see anything on her profile page and not her pictures. I got the message that she shares information with only some people and that I must befriend her first. But I go back to my Close Friends news feed and there it is – the picture, her grief and her well meaning friends sharing words of comfort.

    Her well meaning friends automatically violate her privacy settings by merely commenting on the picture and previous posts. As soon as they do the post (picture and comments) are posted on their own news feeds for all their friends to see …as in the commenter’s friend (like me) not just the poster’s friends even so she has assumed she has set all the right privacy settings.

    I got to thinking, that means anything I post that one of my sons likes or comments on is going to be available to half the high school population! That’s just a for instance of how wrong this is.

    I have family that have tagged me in pictures of their little ones with all the right privacy settings that as of this new rollout are now automatically available to me AND my 188 friends! All just because I was tagged in it, or I “liked” it or I commented on it.

    So, now I’m making my point by commenting on status and finishing up that by allowing comments (and you can’t turn that off) this particular status was just made available to 188 people they don’t know.

    How’s that for no privacy? How’s that for making it easy to stalk? So far I can see no way around or out of it other than to stop using Facebook altogether.