When we meet a new person we automatically go home to “stalk” them on social media in order to get a better idea of who they are and who they hang out with. The normal things to look at are where they went to school, what sports they played, and if you have mutual friends. However, if you wanted to learn more you easily could. You could find their current location, how old they are, and where they like to go to eat. With new location options on Instagram posts and snapchat filters, it becomes easier to find out where everyone is at given moment. We can learn people’s habits and tendencies, which could be used as a talking point for future conversation or for someone else it can be used as a way to track them and stalk them for real.
What constitutes as cyberstalking according to Privacy Rights :
- Sending manipulative, threatening, lewd or harassing emails
- Hacking into someone’s online accounts and changing the victim’s settings and passwords.
- Creating false online accounts, impersonating the victim or attempting to establish contact with the victim by using a false persona.
- Monitoring someone’s life based on their social media accounts
We take social media stalking as a joke and just a way to find common interests, but it is easy for someone we don’t want to know a lot of personal information. Everyone remembers their parents telling them to not accept anyone on Facebook who they didn’t know just in case, but now there are so many other ways to gather information. They can go through your friends and find you or see what you have been tagged in and search other accounts. Our security on social media has become less of a priority now because it is more common to share more information to make your account better.
In a survey done by Data & Society about ONLINE HARASSMENT, DIGITAL ABUSE, AND CYBERSTALKING IN AMERICA they found that 30% of Americans have had some sort of degree of cyberstalking which includes: locational surveillance by an online harasser or stolen information. This number will just keep increasing due to more emphasize on sharing locations and details of where people are. The top form of cyberstalking that was researched by the Data & Society was noticed in someone monitoring online and phone activity.
With this new trend those looking to stalk can find the moments of victims from their accounts or from friend’s accounts. There are times where people won’t even realize the danger of sharing locations and posting about every event. We saw this with the robbery of Kim Kardashian in Paris. She had been posting on Instagram about her trip to Paris and had pictures of all the expensive jewelry she packed. It was not hard to the men to find out where she was staying and target her for a $5 million robbery. She was posting on snapchat about being alone in the hotel which probably wasn’t the smartest move.
“It was really the celebrity who was targeted, with possessions that had been seen and noticed via social media, and it was these goods that the attackers targeted”
-(Johanna Primevert, chief spokeswoman for the Paris police department)
There were definitely many other circumstance surrounding this big issue, however it is pretty obvious that her immense presence and showing off on social media made her more of a target. The entire Kardashian/Jenner clan decreased their social media presence drastically.
(She posted this photo on Instagram a few hours before her robbery)
There are many forms of online harassment that are relevant to cyber stalking because it can be stalking online only and using that to scare the victim or they can stalk someone in person based on the information they found online. This can mean finding out where they are and going to those locations and this can turn into real stalking. This topic is rarely discussed because it is part of the social media nature to let people get to know you and be as open as possible. However, I just find it funny that sometimes people hid their real personality online because they are embarrassed but then will share their real locations and personal information. Also, the prevention or combat of cyberstalking is very hard because the stalked could be in other states or on a library computer without any real identity. It is hard to find identities and collect the proper information in order to stop them from stalking someone else.
Having social media accounts comes with a lot of responsibilities which we have discussed in class, but there are many levels of risk when showing your personal life to everyone in the world.