Don't Harass Strangers On The Internet|
Posted Feb 20, 2013 - 9:06:09
So most of us know that when someone messages you on Facebook but you aren't friends with them, their message will go into a separate folder labelled "other." I never look at it, but yesterday I was kind of bored after work and decided to take a peek. While sorting through it, I found - from almost a year ago - this particular gem:
Yes. This happened. I presume I had written a comment on some random tech blog using Facebook comments about how I like my Apple products (I do), and this guy got so mad he went to my Facebook profile and privately messaged me
From his actual Facebook account.
Now this strikes me as dumb on a lot of levels. He has no clue who I am, he doesn't know if I'm some crazy guy. For all he knows I'm an axe-murdering psychopath who he just picked a fight with for no good reason. If this were some anonymous email address, it would only be mildly dumb... but let's show why it's REALLY a bad idea in this case.
First off, this guy has his privacy setting set pretty low on Facebook. A lot of his personal information is right there, plain as day. Secondly, by googling his full name, I quickly pulled up his LinkedIn and Google+ pages. Pages with some fun information on them. Between these two pages, I now know where he works, where he lives, and where he went to college.
Dude's a Cellphone Salesman. I used to be one of those.
He also uses the same Twitter username as he does on Facebook, so that profile was easy enough to locate. It revealed one more exceptionally critical piece of information: his approximate birthdate.
With this information, I was able to confirm wayyyy too much stuff (including the names and ages of several relatives - hey Rafael, tell Esther I said hi!).
This whole "cyber stalking" though? It didn't take any effort. I literally did only about five Google searches. There wasn't any skill on my part, this dude literally broadcasts everything. Like, even more than I
do, and I broadcast a lot
. A lot of people send out this much stuff into the ether, but that isn't the problem. The problem is he sends out his much stuff, and then proceeds to harass strangers
Which is not, y'know, a good idea. Because what if it was someone as smart as me who isn't
Then stories like this might not have ended with useless blog posts.