How to deal with a stalker on Facebook

You may suddenly get a lot of unwanted, and potentially frightening, attention on Facebook. Stalking and bullying is unfortunately more and more common on the social network. Here I give some advice on what you can do to deal with it.

If someone on Facebook continuously insults, upsets, threatens, or makes unwanted sexual advances, ask them to stop. If it continues, then you are dealing with a stalker. Also read: This is allowed / not on Facebook.

First, ask yourself if you feel physically threatened. If the bully threatens you with violence, or stalks you in the physical world or comes to your door, then the problem goes beyond cyberbullying. You have to call the police.

If it's not that bad, try talking to the person. Did you hurt him or her in any way? Do you have to apologize? See if you can have a real conversation.

But if that tactic fails, stop it. You don't want to appear weak or obsequious. Block the annoying person so he or she can't just send you something on Facebook:

1. Click on the lock in the top right corner and select How do I stop someone from bothering me?

2. Enter the person's name (first name will probably suffice) and click block.

3. In the dialog box that appears, search for the person in question (it will probably be near the top) and click the button block which is next to the name.

4. In the Are you sure...dialog box you can read what will happen. Consider the options and click the button if necessary Block [name].

Blocking alone may not be enough. Even if you use Strict Filtering, certain messages can still get through. According to Facebook, someone not linked to you can pay to have their messages sent to your Inbox instead of the Other folder. Not a good policy, in my opinion.

Ultimately, the best solution may be to make it public. Post an explanation on your timeline explaining what's going on. Tag mutual friends to make sure they see and read your story. And talk about it, in the real world or over the phone, with people you know well. Being bullied is a lot easier to deal with when you have a network of supportive friends.

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