Social networking

Stalkers and abusers can use social networking sites to impersonate, stalk, threaten and harass victims. These can include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Foursquare, Flickr, Pinterest and Instagram.

Strategies to keep your social network safe

  • Explore the privacy settings of your social networking account and adjust the settings to afford yourself maximum security and privacy. Be sure to check the settings on the website and on your mobile application.
  • Revisit the privacy settings weekly or monthly as these features are regularly updated and changed by social networking sites.
  • Communicate on a social networking site by private or instant messaging, rather than publicly through a Twitter feed or your Facebook wall.
  • Consider creating a new profile using non-identifying information and an image such as a flower, sports team logo, cartoon or other image as your profile picture.
  • You can deactivate your Facebook account temporarily without deleting your data. A temporary deactivation will prevent users from viewing your information, tagging you in posts or pictures and sending you a private or instant message.
  • When you are sent a friend request through Facebook, it is important to consider whether you know the true identity of the person sending the request. If you do not know their true identity, then consider ignoring or declining the request.
  • If you are sent a friend request from a person who has any type of a relationship with your stalker or abuser, consider declining or limiting the friendship request. Your stalker or abuser may be able to access your information or whereabouts through this person.
  • For location applications like Foursquare, consider whether a person needs to know your location, and if not decline the friendship request.
  • If you have been harassed, threatened, impersonated or stalked online, then it is important to keep all records of the online activity, as this documentation may become evidence for court matters.
  • Digital evidence is considered to be fragile and it can be easily destroyed or rendered ‘inadmissible’ in court due to modification after it is collected or recorded. Try to keep the evidence in its original form and do not forward emails, texts or pictures.
  • Use the print screen function or your computer, or print directly from a website to document any digital evidence.
  • If you a parent or guardian to children or teens using social networking or gaming websites, discuss with them about whom they become ‘friends’ with and help them to adjust their privacy settings.

Safe social network posts

Some posts on social network sites may reveal your location details via the post’s content or geotag. Before you post on a social networking site, consider whether the post you intend making will reveal your location or activities.

Instagram

In the example on the left, Jane mentions her location on holidays (Byron Bay) and how long she will be there (2 days), who she is with (@SallyBestFriend) and that she has left her dog at home. Any of this information could be used by a stalker to either track Janes movements or visit her house knowing she isn't home.

In the second post, Jane only mentions she is relaxing with her toes in the sand. It doesn't give away specifics about her location, only that she is on a beach somewhere.

Comparison of two instagram posts of a person on holiday explaining what information to omit from social media posts

Media Folder:

Facebook

In the first example, Jane has shown and mentioned the make/model (Mazda 6), colour (Red with crème interior) and number plate (NUM 000) of the car she has just bought. She’s also shared information about an upcoming holiday including where she is going (Melbourne) and when (November 3).

In the second post, Jane only indicates she bought a new car. No details of the car can be seen, protecting her privacy.

Image comparing two Facebook posts and what information to omit from your social media posts

Media Folder:

Twitter

In the first tweet, Jane mentions her daughter’s name (Ellie), the primary school she attends (Peachtree Primary), and what time pick up is (3pm).

In the second tweet, Jane only mentions her daughter is off to preschool. No other details are given, keeping her and her daughter safe from harm.

image comparing two tweet and giving examples of what to omit from social media

Media Folder: