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Safe Social Networking

Stalkers and abusers sometimes use social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare, and Flickr to impersonate, stalk, and harass victims. Using safety measures may help reduce risk.

  • Communicate via private or instant message rather than publicly through Twitter feed or your Facebook wall.
  • Consider creating a new profile using non-identifying information and an image such as a flower, a sports team logo, or other image as your profile picture.
  • Save all threats and harassment and submit to law enforcement or your lawyer.
  • You may deactivate your Facebook account temporarily without deleting your data. This strategy prevents users from viewing your information, tagging you in posts or pictures and sending you a private or instant message.
  • Revisit privacy settings weekly or monthly as these features and updated regularly.
  • Adjust privacy and location settings via the website AND your smart phone applications.
  • After linking social networking profiles such as Foursquare or Twitter, revisit your privacy setting on each website.
  • Digital evidence is considered “fragile” and can be easily destroyed or rendered in admissible in court due to modification after it is collected. Keep it in its original state. Do not forward e-mails, texts, or pics.
  • Use printscreen function or print directly from website to document evidence of threats or harassment.

Tips for Facebook “Friending”

  • Do I know this person’s true identity? If not, consider declining the friendship request.
  • Does this person have a relationship with the person stalking/abusing me? If so, consider declining or limiting the friendship request. The stalker/abuser may be able to access your information or whereabouts through this person.
  • For location applications, does this person need to know my location? If not, consider decline the friendship request.
  • If you have children or teens using social networking websites, talk to them about whom to friend, help adjust their privacy settings, and be aware of their online activities.