What Did the Stalker Do?
Every now and then an internet fad comes along. Take MySpace and YouTube. Both are extremely popular, but eventually, something more popular will take their places.
One such fad is Facebook. Facebook is “made up of many networks, each based around a workplace, region, high school or college”. Create a profile, become a member of different networks and groups, find your friends and become their Facebook-friends, too. Intriguing, but probably not of any practical value to the majority of the users. There will still be wars on spaceship Earth even if we all become Facebook members.
There is, however, a group of people to which Facebook can be extremely helpful. The stalkers.
After you’ve found all your old friends, who is it that you start looking for? Old dates, of course. What about that really hot date you once had that never returned your phone calls no matter how many singing telegrams you sent? Because of your profile’s default privacy settings, Facebook has the answers. By default, if you’re a member of the same network as the person you’re searching for, you can see everything he or she has written in the profile, watch every picture, see every non-private message, view every note - pretty much the perfect tool. The network Norway has 102,462 member when I’m writing this, so if you’re stalking a Norwegian, it’s very likely that the one you are looking for is the member of the Norway network. If you become a member of the same network, you’re good to go.
Let’s test how well this works with a real-life example. Before I met Gine I dated quite a few girls. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the last names of most of them, and that makes it somewhat hard to find them, but at least one I remember. A quick search reveals that she is on Facebook and that she is indeed a member of the Norway network. Even better, she has not touched the default privacy settings, making her entire profile visible to me.
From her profile I can see that she has not moved since we dated, at least she not moved out of the city she lived in. That’s good new for the stalker, because finding her won’t be an issue. From her mini-feed, which shows me what she has been doing on Facebook, I can see that she’s been fairly active, but that she’s not totally obsessed. She has a few friends, has written on the odd wall and is a member of a few groups, but nothing that interesting. One thing, however, is interesting for the stalker: She is listed as “in a relationship”. What the hell!? How can she do that when she is supposed to be with me?
The moral of the story is that it’s not a very good idea to keep the default privacy settings Facebook prevents you with. The world is full of crazy fucks and making the job easy for them is something you should try to avoid. Be a bit paranoid, and use a few minutes of your time to modify the privacy settings.
vegard at vegard dot netwith your input. You can also use any of the other points of contact listed on the About page.
It looks like you're using Google's Chrome browser, which records everything you do on the internet. Personally identifiable and sensitive information about you is then sold to the highest bidder, making you a part of surveillance capitalism.
The Contra Chrome comic explains why this is bad, and why you should use another browser.