Can I block this person on FB?
December 31, 2020 4:15 PM   Subscribe
My mom's next door neighbor is snooping on my FB but doesn't have a profile I can block.

I grew up next to this woman, and she's always been nasty to me, even while being nice to my family. So I don't like that she's snooping, considering she doesn't ever talk to me about anything, and also even sometimes calls my mom to ask her if she's heard this or that.

Most of my content is private. However, I do use my page to share things I've published, so I don't want everything to be private.

I've searched neighbor by name, phone number, and email. I was thinking she has some sort of account (she told me she set one up so she could look at menus) but she may not.

I realize I could email her about this, but I'd rather just keep her out.

I'm happy to PM any of this info to someone who may have suggestions for how to block her.
posted by mermaidcafe to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You can’t, unfortunately-she can just keep making throwaway accounts and can view public stuff while not logged in :(
posted by The Last Sockpuppet at 4:20 PM on December 31 [1 favorite]

So you're saying that you post something to FB publicly, and then she calls your mom to ask about it? Is that the chain here? I looked at if you could post something publicly and exclude specific friends, but that's not an option, so I think the only way to limit what she sees is to block her, if you can find an account, or to share things less publicly. Could you set up a separate page from your profile where you post your publications? Maybe she'd be less likely to find that?
posted by bluedaisy at 5:07 PM on December 31 [2 favorites]

What is she seeing/snooping on that you don’t want her to see? The work you’re publishing or other stuff on your profile like your profile picture or details about where you live? If it’s other stuff, the solution would seem to be to make a separate author page where you share stuff you’ve published but nothing that feels personal, and then have a private/locked-down or pseudonymous facebook for personal use with friends. If you don’t want her to see the stuff you published—I think there’s an inherent conflict between publishing something (with your real name?) and not wanting certain people to see it/feeling snooped on if they do see it.
posted by needs more cowbell at 5:36 PM on December 31 [7 favorites]

You can't control what this woman says or does regarding things you publish to the public, but you can set boundaries with your mother. Tell her you're not interested in hearing what her nosy neighbor has to say about you, you're not interested in discussing it, then repeat as often as necessary. If that doesn't work, then set stronger boundaries. Your mother should be on your side here.
posted by Umami Dearest at 6:26 PM on December 31 [17 favorites]

You effectively can't block people from seeing public content on your page, even if you could find an account to block public stuff can be viewed when logged out of facebook.

Sounds like it would be a bad idea to post anything public on facebook that you don't want your mother to find out about -- but that's generally a bad idea for everyone, not just people who have a nosey person calling their mother.

I'm not sure if this would be a great idea in your case -- depends a lot on the specifics of this particular individual and on the sorts of things you are publishing -- but you could write a short story where one of the characters is a nosey person who keeps checking someone's facebook and calling their mother. Maybe the character has the sort of pet this person had when you were growing up, live in a house the same color, etc. Give them a different name, if confronted insist that you certainly didn't have this person in mind. Won't exactly stop them from snooping in the future, but may bring you some solace.
posted by yohko at 6:38 PM on December 31 [3 favorites]

Don't search for her, search for people you know are close to her and then look for overlap. If her daughter, her sister and her yoga instructor all have the same friend named Spam Kardashian, go ahead and block. Usually you can ID the made up profiles if not by name then by the lack of real pictures and content.
posted by InkaLomax at 2:57 AM on January 1 [9 favorites]

If you want certain material to be viewable by “the public” (i.e., anyone, regardless of whether or not they are on your friends list) there is nothing you can do to block this person. She doesn’t even need a profile to view your public content.

Step 1 would be to give some serious thought as to whether your public content is actually reaching “the public” in any meaningfully helpful way. My very strong suspicion is that it doesn’t. Most people don’t use Facebook that way, in my experience, but instead only tend to see content from profiles on their friends list, profiles they follow and profiles they search for. Do you have a bunch of followers not on your friends list? If not, consider publicizing your content on a different platform. You can likely reach a larger audience on Twitter and Instagram, which your neighbor is far less likely to use.

Regardless of what you do, if you want to make certain content public on the internet you just have to accept that your neighbor is part of the public and will be able to view it if she jumps through enough hoops.
posted by slkinsey at 5:02 AM on January 1 [4 favorites]

I’d throw her off her game by creating wildly improbable public content, like saying you’re joining an ashram or applying to NASA to be an astronaut or just inherited 7 million bucks.

Post it and then take it down after a few days. When it gets back to you say “I never posted that she must be crazy.”
posted by spitbull at 5:18 AM on January 1

Why not just up your own privacy settings a bit so random accounts can't view your content, but only friends and family?
posted by kschang at 10:52 AM on January 1 [2 favorites]

Can you turn it around, so that you don’t ever become aware that she has seen anything related to you? Ask your mom to stop telling you when this person mentions you, and stop responding to her if she has been contacting you directly. Allow yourself to stop giving her space inside your head.
posted by Lawn Beaver at 12:03 PM on January 1

Set up a new group but only make this known to followers of your current group ie don’t make the information public. Move your exisiting followers over to the new page then leave the old group dormant while she hangs around pitifully wondering what happened and why you don’t post anymore.
posted by Jubey at 6:48 PM on January 1

You block her by making everything you post only visible to friends. The friends that have followed you will see your content and if you tag specific friends they can see your content as well as their friends. If you keep making things public your neighbor can go into any account she has access to and view these status updates. If you suspect she is friends with one of your friends however you can limit what that person sees by putting them in a "restricted friends" category and then they only see what you post publicly or tag them in
posted by The_imp_inimpossible at 3:23 AM on January 2 [1 favorite]

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