Facebook Creeps and My Anthropological Experiment
Hello dear readers. As you all know, social media is both a blessing, (the better to keep up with all of my friends scattered everywhere) and a curse. (Creeps and other annoyances, which I have discussed here in the past blog.)
Being the student of psychology that I am, and wanting to do an anthropology sort of study on the male creeps that try to friend me, I have undertaken an experiment for the past year.
I have changed my profile photo frequently. My reasons for doing this, was first that I don’t think most photos represent the true me; (and get told all the time when people meet me face to face after seeing me on Facebook – “You are prettier in person.” Right Frani – and the dozens of others whose names will not be mentioned?) and secondly because of the anthropology experiment.
You see, whenever one changes a profile photo, it goes public, even if your page is set to Friends only. When I change my photo, I get dozens of requests from men in the military, men in uniform, male doctors, and other bogus men requesting my friendship. They are all very handsome with rugged names. Who knew there was such an endless supply of handsome men out there? I know you all get them too if you are on Facebook.
Now in the past several years, before I would accept a friendship, I have verified that I actually had real friends in common with whoever was friending me, and I limit it to people I actually know. My friends list has stagnated for that reason, but it was necessary. Or, if someone contacts me in a private message that they are a blog reader I accept, of course.
So getting back to my experiment, when I check each profile of the guys wanting my friendship. 99 percent of the time, they are using a bogus photo as well as a bogus name and identity. (In fact, I have had my photos swiped by others who used them for their own profiles, pretending that my photo was their likeness. Having a public blog with lots of photos, as well as Facebook, that kind of thing can happen.)
It was really interesting to dive into the profiles of the men who friend request me. First thing, check the friends list. Most of these bogus profiles have Zero friends. Zero. So most of us are smart enough to discern bogus Facebook profiles.
Just recently, I have found a few that by going further down their profile page, past the military uniform photos, that it is clear they had hijacked a defunct profile. In fact one used a deceased black woman’s page. (The name was unisex and a bit unusual.) Yes, after all the macho photos, while I kept scrolling down, there were people wishing this deceased woman a happy heavenly birthday, and her relatives (all black) were saying how missed she is.
This is the rule rather than the exception my friends: they use someone else’s name, profile, or photo, or all of the above to stalk women.
I guarantee that 99 percent of these guys are incarcerated with a bunch of time on their hands. And believe it or not, I found a few of my non-aware single friends accepting bogus profile friendships and then they latch onto their friends and find me. With one mutual friend, I take a closer look, but yeah, all still bogus.
So, not only do I not accept their friendship, but I report it as SPAM so Facebook can check it out and shut down their bogus page. I am doing a public service here, because who knows how many dumb, I mean naive, women accept these friendships?
We all know that the Nigerian prince is not really going to leave us all that money, right? So why would people accept these friendships? Are any of these con-men successful in this endeavor? I would guess they are if they keep doing it.
I am also helping those future anthropologists who want to study social media, by writing this for their reference some day.
And for anyone else wanting to try this experiment, put a real cheesecake photo of yourself on your profile as your new profile photo and watch the requests come in. But be wary, someone will steal it and use it for their bogus profile.
At first, I used to take it as a compliment that all these men were interested in me. But I would wonder why they would want to get to know me when I clearly stated in my profile that I am married. I started my own study by doing what you do: looking at their profile and seeing that they had no friends. I realized this was just a scam. Now when these handsome faces show up, I just delete them and move on. I do wonder though, whether some lonely single women would easily fall prey to this type of attention and get taken advantage of.