How to Stop a Facebook Stalker

Reclaim your privacy and your sense of safety

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If you're being stalked on Facebook, the experience can feel anywhere from intrusive to abusive. But don't let it ruin your Facebook fun. Here we discuss how to tell when someone is stalking you on Facebook and what to do about it.

How to Know When Someone Is Stalking You on Facebook

There are several telltale signs that don't necessarily mean you're being stalked, but certainly could, especially when several of them are happening at the same time.

  • They comment on all your new posts. Stalkers want attention and one way to get it is to tell you what they think about everything you post.
  • They comment on posts from the past. This action indicates they're combing through your Facebook history.
  • They like all your photos. If someone is obsessed with you, they're likely to show you and the world how much they like looking at your face.
  • They send you private messages through Facebook. These messages may be unusually frequent or reference knowledge they could only have gained by taking a deep dive into your profile.
  • They show up at the top of your friend list. Facebook's algorithm puts Facebook friends at the top of your friend list who you interact with (or who interact with you) the most.
  • They request to follow you on other social media sites as well. If you're suddenly getting invites or requests on all your social media accounts from this person, it's a sign they want to know even more about you.

Bottom line, use your gut and take the steps in the next section to put distance between yourself and anyone who makes you uncomfortable on Facebook.

What to Do When Someone Is Facebook Stalking You

Fortunately, there are many things you can do to stop a stalker in their tracks, including preventing them from messaging you, preventing them from seeing most of your posts, unfriending them, or even making it impossible for them to find you on Facebook again. The actions below are listed in order of least to most severe.

No method mentioned here is foolproof. Even if you block someone on Facebook, there's a chance they could see a public post, or use a mutual friend's account to continue to monitor your activity.

Don't accept friend requests from strangers. It may seem like a fun way to meet new people online. But, as you wouldn't let just anyone come into your home, you shouldn't let just anyone into your online life. A good rule to follow is, if you're not friends in real life, don't become friends on Facebook.

´╗┐Be mindful of what you post. You'll give stalkers less material to work with if you limit the information you give away:

  • Don't post clues to any of your online passwords.
  • Don't list your birthdate or contact information.
  • Don't post anything about family members, especially kids' or parents' names or maiden names.
  • Don't post photos of your kids, or at least don't attach their names to these photos.
  • Don't post anything in advance about vacation plans, and wait until you return home to post those fun photos.
  • Don't post anything related to your financial accounts, including where you bank.

Appear to be unavailable for messaging. You can adjust your settings so it looks like you're not online and unavailable for messaging. To do so, select the gear icon in the bottom-right corner of your Facebook screen. Select Turn Off Active Status, then choose the option you prefer. You'll still receive messages, but there will be no pop-up window and, therefore, no temptation to respond.

Restrict them. You can add a Facebook friend who's making you uncomfortable to your Restricted list. This action prevents them from seeing anything you post on Facebook unless it's public. To do so, navigate to their profile. At the top of the screen, select the Friends dropdown menu and choose Add to another list > Restricted.

Unfriend them. Unfriending someone on Facebook means that person can no longer see posts that aren't public, or unless they're following you. That means you'll need to both unfriend the person and change your settings so they can't follow you. To do the latter, in the upper-right corner of your Facebook screen, select down-arrow > Settings > Public Posts. In the Who Can Follow Me section, select the drop-down menu and choose Friends.

Note that the person won't receive a notification that you've unfriended them, but they will know when they try to access your profile and get a suggestion to friend you instead. Chances are they will try to friend you again; if so, don't accept the friend request.

Block them. Blocking goes beyond unfriending in that not only is the person unable to see your posts; they won't even be able to tell that you're on Facebook. If they do a search for your name, you won't come up in the search results. If someone is making you uncomfortable on Facebook and the steps above haven't been enough to keep them away, or you want the most possible privacy and protection from the person, block them. As with unfriending, the person won't receive a notice that they've been blocked, but will likely notice that they can no longer find your profile.

Blocking someone isn't foolproof. A blocked user can still see you on games, groups, and apps you're both a part of. They could also use a mutual friend's account to view your activity.

Report them. If someone's stalking is extreme, you might consider reporting them to Facebook itself. Reporting someone on Facebook may or may not result in any action being taken against them, but it can't hurt. Your report will remain confidential, and it's easy to do. Go to their profile and, next to their name at the top of the profile, to the far right, select the three-dot icon > Find Support or Report Profile. Within the dialog box, choose the appropriate response and select Send.

Get off of Facebook. If all else fails, you might want to reconsider your involvement on Facebook altogether. With so many privacy and security issues with Facebook in recent years, many others have decided to opt out of the social media giant, so you would be far from alone. You can download your entire Facebook history to keep those memories and find other ways to stay in touch with friends. On the other hand, there are disadvantages to discontinuing Facebook, so think carefully about whether it's the right choice for you.

BONUS TIP: Don't let strangers see your Facebook profile. The more "invisible" you make yourself on Facebook, the less likely it is that a potential stalker will get access to your personal information. To take this action, learn how to hide your profile from strangers.