New Facebook is stalker friendly

Anna Brundage

With every change Facebook makes, it becomes easier for creepers to creep.

Anna Brundage

Most Facebook users, including myself, would rather not admit that they spend most of their time logged on and aimlessly scrolling. It is the preferred tool for procrastination and a quick cure for boredom especially during finals or those killer three-hour classes.

Many longtime Facebook users may remember the basic layout and the simple photo uploader, bumper stickers and wall graffiti. As the old but fun add-ons are phased out, new features such as “Lists” and “On This Day” have been added.

Not only has the look and style of Facebook changed regularly over the years, but so has its uses. No longer is Mark Zuckerberg’s idea of simply connecting with friends the primary use of the site: More commonly individuals use Facebook’s endless features to creep.

Admittedly, I do find myself checking up on friends from high school or people I haven’t spoken to since middle school. There is some level of immoral entertainment in comparing lives with those individuals whose lives have gone in the exact opposite direction of your own. We all know this is true.

There is a difference, though, when comparing lives with people you have met in person or shared a class with to friending the person you sat next to in the café or share one brief drunk moment with. I am guilty of accepting requests from individuals I may not know well but generally a “friend” should be a friend. It is borderline stalking when you find and friend someone you only just met. Ironically, as I write this article, two friends of an acquaintance have proceeded to friend request me.

While the security settings are extensive – it is possible to completely block a person from viewing your entire existence online – the settings aren’t always quick and easy to use. One important Facebook fix would be to make those security settings proactive and user-friendly.

What truly bothers me is how easy it is for people to know almost everything about an individual in just a matter of seconds; much of the information has always been readily available but now it seems to be much more easily accessible by anyone searching for personal information. No longer is Facebook fun and friendly. Now it’s annoying and creepy.

Facebook now allows me to post to my own wall, rather than creating the original status (which remained at the top of the page), and labels the location from where I am posting. I do not want everyone to know where I am. If I feel it is important enough for someone to know where I am, I will tell them.

Also, there is now an option to categorize a new friend as a “friend,” an “acquaintance” or a list name of your choice. Along with becoming someone’s friend, the ability to subscribe to one’s profile is now available. You can remain friends with whomever you want and subscribe to posts from only those individuals you find worthy enough to follow.

I am not Facebook savvy but I am aware of the SMS subscription option, too. The fact that someone can receive texts when I post a status seems a bit much. In no way does it seem necessary for people to receive instant information about me, especially when my status refers to walking around the house sucking up spiders with the vacuum. Yes, that’s a bit ridiculous, but I think it’s more ridiculous that someone could have that information texted to one’s phone the second I post it.

As part of my regular spring cleaning, I freshen my Facebook. I apologize to those of you who did not survive my purge of friends and lucky for those of you who did. In all honesty, if I do not speak with you regularly, or at all, is there a need for the online connection? I do not have time to categorize my friends into neat lists and I am beginning to take note of the locations that are posted with my statuses.

I could easily find a friend from elementary school, who has extensive privacy settings, look at our friends in common, scroll through his page to pictures of the two of us, or post notes on each others walls. For those individuals who have more relaxed settings the “Friendship Page” is available, listing photos, wall posts, similar interests and comments.

The amount of personal information we all willingly and unwillingly post online could easily devastate anyone’s reputation. Once we post to Facebook, any content becomes public domain forever. Feel free to delete a picture but it will always linger online, somewhere, hidden.

I would love to deactivate my Facebook account, sadly I have fallen victim to the social network which keeps us all endlessly entertained.