Thanks to social networking, it is easier than ever for people to check up on past loves, current crushes, and other personal relationship obsessions. All it takes is a simple search to see what someone is doing on Facebook if their privacy settings aren’t restrictive. Even so, it isn’t difficult for a stalker to use an account that isn’t blocked by their target.
According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, 1,006,970 women and 370,000 men are stalked annually in the United States.
The problem with Facebook stalking is that it seems like a victimless crime. If the only action that is taken is a quick check-up on a profile, then there really isn’t any harm being done. When looking at a Facebook profile starts interactions that make people fearful, however, then harmless viewing transitions into harmful interactions.
- 63%. That’s the number of Facebook profiles are visible to the public.
- 55% of teens share information with the general public and unknowingly with people they don’t know.
- 1 in 4 teens has put something on Facebook that would be considered embarrassing or harmful to someone else, including videos, photos, or simple rumors.
- 3 out of 10 teens in the United States have been stalked by complete strangers on Facebook and received friend requests from people they didn’t know.
- 83% of people will regularly check the profiles of their previous intimate partners on Facebook.
- 3 out of 4 former intimate partners will check on the Facebook pages of new romantic interests that their former partner has.
- The percentage of people who will use a friend’s Facebook page to check on profiles of their former intimate partners after being blocked: 70%.
- 16% of all social media stalking occurs on Facebook.
The problem with living in the information era is that there is plenty of public information available about anyone. Add in the fact that a majority of people haven’t restricted their Facebook profiles in any way and stalking becomes something that is incredibly easy to do. It’s also a lot safer than in-person stalking because it can be done from behind a computer screen in the privacy of one’s own home. When people check-in at specific locations, talk about taking trips, and post images online of their home, it becomes very easy to follow the patterns of a person’s life. That’s not to say that anyone but the stalker is at fault for this crime. It just means that there are precautions that can be and probably should be taken.
Facebook Stalking Should Be Taken Seriously
- Two-thirds of women on Facebook who are victims of stalking were stalked by their current or former intimate partner.
- The average amount of time that someone will stalk a victim: 1.8 years.
- 46 percent of Facebook stalking victims felt fear of not knowing what would happen next.
- 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men in the United States have experienced stalking during their lifetime.
- 52% of stalking victims are 18-29 years old when the stalking starts on Facebook.
- 83% of stalking incidents are not reported to law enforcement officials.
- 93.4% of victims have confided in someone, most often a friend, that they were being stalked.
- 7%. That’s the percentage of Facebook stalking victims that will seek out some form of personal help to cope with the emotions of being a victim.
There’s this attitude in the world today that everyone does a little bit of Facebook stalking, so the entire concept is rather harmless. Just checking on the page of someone and leaving it at that isn’t really stalking. Some might even say that consistently looking at a page, but taking no action, wouldn’t qualify as stalking. This general acceptance has led to social media stalking to become more common than any other form of stalking today. Think about it like this: if someone looked at your Facebook profile, would it make you feel uncomfortable? Now think about if this person visited your Facebook profile 3x per day, every day, without you knowing about it.
There Are Some Surprising Facts About Facebook Stalking
- Nearly 40% of cyberstalking victims are men and some studies show that the percentage may be as high as 56%.
- Around 37% of men were stalked by a stranger, compared with 23% of women.
- 4%. That’s the number of men who report that they were being stalked by a former partner. This is compared to nearly half of all stalking incidents that happen in-person being a former partner.
- 85% of people who are stalking people on Facebook are estimated to qualify for at least one primary personality disorder diagnosis.
- 87%. That’s the percentage of active stalkers that are male, which means a majority of stalking incidents online are men on men.
- 1.5% of people 18 or older were victims of stalking in the last 12 month period based on incidents that have been reported.
- Up to 4% of all women and 1.3% of all men were stalked during the last 12 months in a way that made them feel fearful.
- 7 in 10 victims know their offender in some capacity.
The problem with cyberstalking is that it can take on a number of different forms. Someone can create a fake Facebook profile of a person and cause damage to their reputation. In one instance, a fake profile resulted in a woman receiving visits of up to 30 different men every day because they thought she would give them personal favors. The reason? Someone she dated set up a fake profile for her and consistently advertised services. The laws exist to protect people from Facebook stalking. It requires the courage to report incidents to law enforcement when they are known. Stalking isn’t a personal matter. It is a crime.