How To Tell if Someone is Stalking Your Facebook Page
Facebook stalking is something of a problem on the world’s most popular social network. With nearly everyone having a Facebook profile, and a huge portion of the population being active users of the platform, Facebook is naturally a spot where the stalkers of the world have begun to congregate. If you have suspicions that someone is monitoring you on Facebook or using the site to watch you, you may not know how to verify your suspicions. In this article I will show you how to tell if someone is stalking you via your Facebook page.
First, let’s draw something of a line between stalking and just checking someone out. Everyone has looked up an ex-partner, checked out a potential date’s page to look for their taste in music or politics, or searched for the Facebook page of someone we just met and are curious about. This isn’t stalking; ordinary people do it, employers do it, and anybody who deals with people in their professional life does it. This kind of cursory checking on what you’re like as a person or who you hang out with in the real world is harmless.
What is Stalking?
Stalking is a more serious issue. Legally speaking, in most jurisdictions the definition of stalking is pretty close to the dictionary definition. Merriam-Webster defines stalking as “the act or crime of willfully and repeatedly following or harassing another person in circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to fear injury or death especially because of express or implied threats; broadly: a crime of engaging in a course of conduct directed at a person that serves no legitimate purpose and seriously alarms, annoys, or intimidates that person”.
In a legal sense, it’s only stalking if the person being observed knows it’s happening, feels threatened by it, and the observer has no legitimate purpose in their observation. You may feel “stalked” if your boss checks your public profile to see if you were really sick when you called in last Saturday, but that isn’t stalking.
(Note: nobody on the TechJunkie staff is a lawyer and this is not legal advice.)
So when we say “Facebook stalking”, what do we mean? Well, really there are two components: one, the stalker is monitoring the stalked person more closely than the stalked person would like them to, and two, the stalker is doing so with malevolent intent in order to harass. Your ex-spouse checking your every move so that they can be there to give you and your new partner a hard time? Definitely stalking. Your grandmother checking your every move because they love you to pieces? Not stalking.
So is it possible to definitively tell whether you are being stalked or not? Unfortunately, not directly. Within the mountain of words in the Facebook terms of service is the phrase “Facebook doesn’t let you track who views your profile or your posts.” This claim appears to be true; the company may track everything you say, think or do, but it doesn’t share data on who is looking at your page…with one critical exception.
Back in 2017, Facebook introduced Stories, like Snapchat and Instagram. You can create a Story to publish a montage of images, publish it, and then for the next 24 hours your Story will be live on the site. You will be able to track how many people look at it, and you can also see who viewed it. Yes, you can flush out a stalker by publishing a Story and seeing who checks it out. The downside of this is that if your stalker knows how Facebook Stories work, they will avoid viewing them. If they aren’t so savvy, you might catch them out.
Failing that, looking for signs of Facebook stalking is an inexact science but sometimes you can see patterns of behavior that give you pause. These things are not definitive evidence, but they may be suspicious. That’s really a judgment call on your part that we can’t help you with.
Someone who appears out of the blue and likes old posts
Sometimes someone sees an old post and likes what they read. Fair enough. Sometimes, a lurker has to scroll through your page to find something that gives them an in and has to use it.
Someone who likes your posts that appear on other pages
If the same person continually likes posts that appear on other people’s walls, this could be a sign of a lurker. If they aren’t a friend and don’t comment directly on your wall it is a good sign that they are either odd or lurking.
Friend requests out of the blue
I get friend requests out of the blue all the time because my name is out there on the Internet. If you see one from someone you don’t know, don’t automatically friend them in case they are the lurker. They may not be of course, but they just might be.
Being tagged more often than usual
Constantly being tagged in games, apps or images is nothing new but if the person tagging you does it all the time, that’s different. Whether they are stalking your Facebook page or not, it’s time to unfriend or politely ask them to stop.
Those are the best ways I know of to spot stalkerish patterns of behavior on Facebook. Do you know of any better ways to do it? Tell us about them below if you do!