Can You Stalk-proof Your Facebook Profile?

Ok, maybe not stalk-proof, but at least stalker-resistant

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Photo: Peter Dazeley / Getty

We’ve all done it. We’ve all tried to look up someone we’re not friends with on Facebook to see what kind of information we can learn about them. There are, however, people out there that do this a lot and have intentions that go beyond curiosity and enter the dark area of obsession.

Online Stalkers can be anyone. They can be someone you know, or someone that is a complete strangers that targeted you specifically or just randomly happened upon your profile.

Whatever the case may be, stalkers can be dangerous and you don’t want to provide them with a lot of information that they may use to locate you and/or your family.

It’s Time to Take Stock of What You’re Sharing With The World

All that information in your Facebook profile should be pared down so as to limit its availability to the general public. Would you post your phone number, address, who your relatives are, etc, on a public bathroom wall for all to see? That’s basically what you’re doing when you leave these items as publicly shared on Facebook.

Don’t Share Your Address, Phone Number, or Email

This seems like a no-brainer, but there are still plenty of people out there who are sharing very personal information on their Facebook profiles. Your address, phone number, and email are very sensitive information. You should leave this info out of your profile entirely. Your close friends will already have this information and other friends who need it can choose the “ask me” link and get it from you directly if you choose to provide it.

Hide Your Likes

A stalker might target you based on a shared interest or might be able to locate you if they know which places you patronize (i.e. bars, restaurants, shops) etc. Each 'like' you make may give them something to use to gain a rapport with you or locate you.

Check out our article on How to Hide Your Likes from view so that no one can see them except you.

Hide All The Old Stuff on Your Timeline That May Still be Publicly Viewable

You may not have always had restrictive privacy settings. When you first started using Facebook, it was kind of like the wild west (in terms of privacy restriction options) and you may not have locked anything down. Rather than sifting through years and years of status updates, Facebook has created a quick and easy tool to use to set all those past posts to something less public.

The 'Limit Availability to Past Posts' Tool, available in your Facebook privacy settings, allows you to globally change the permissions for everything you’ve ever posted on Facebook to “Friends Only”, or something else more restrictive.

Hide Your Friends List

Another thing to consider when attempting to stalker-proof your Facebook profile is limiting access to your friends list. Hiding this will help prevent the disclosure of your relationships with others. Stalkers could leverage these connections to find out more information about you, your family, and loved ones.

To change who can see your friends, Click "Friends" from your Timeline, choose the "Manager" (pencil icon) from the top-right-hand corner of the "Friends" pane. Click on "Edit Privacy" and then Choose who you want to restrict by changing the privacy selection in the "Who can see my friends list" section of the pop up window.

Limit Future Posts To Make Them Not Public

You'll want to set the default sharing permissions for future posts so that they are set to friends or something more restrictive. This can be changed in your Facebook Privacy settings.

Make Yourself Less Searchable

A stalker may use search engines outside of Facebook to locate information about you. To restrict search engines access to content on your timeline, in the Privacy Settings and Tools menu, choose "Do you want other search engines to link to your timeline?" and select "No".