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How can people find me if they don't know my name?

(21 Posts)
Magichat Thu 02-Apr-15 12:00:40

I'm curious and a bit concerned. I work in a professional job and use my maiden name. I use my married name for Facebook, mainly so no clients can find me!
I have recently started lecturing at the university and mentoring small groups of students. I looked at my friend suggestions and 2 of my students were among them. No common friends, no common groups. My understanding is that they must have searched for me. How could they have found me without knowing my surname? They know my first name.
I've upped my security settings to stop this happening. Sounds silly but I don't want people I see in a professional capacity to see my profile pictures. My current one has my DC in it.

TheWhiteRoad Thu 02-Apr-15 12:05:04

Do you have their email addresses stored? Do you list the uni as a place of work? Friend suggestions are different to friend requests btw. Suggestions are made by FB and are people it thinks you may know - either because you have their email addresses in a linked email account, have friends in common or share a workplace. Friend requests mean they have searched for you and want to be your friend.

Magichat Thu 02-Apr-15 12:26:27

Emails yes, but not in linked account, so that's not it. Uni isn't recorded, so that's not it. My place of work is (not anymore as I deleted it today). I understand about friend suggestions, but Facebook "suggests" people who have clicked on your profile and had a nosy. I'm sure this is it, but I can't work out how they "found" me given we have no link in common. Both friend suggestions occurred the week after I taught these students BTW

seaoflove Thu 02-Apr-15 12:28:55

Facebook "suggests" people who have clicked on your profile and had a nosy.

Are you sure it works like that? I've never heard that before.

Magichat Thu 02-Apr-15 12:30:10

Yes, I'm sure

VeronicaCaCa Thu 02-Apr-15 12:32:13

Have you searched for them? People I have stalked looked up often appear on my "people you may know" suggestions.

Bifald Thu 02-Apr-15 12:33:41

fb does this yes. I send out letters 9with my name on them) to participants of a programme i administrate (very vague)
sometimes some of them appear as people i may know. I assure you there's no link. no mutual friend. not in my personal email. they must search me. (the odd one). Not claiming they all do it. but the odd one has a appeared, adn that would seem to be the only explanation as i had not given these people a thought.

PenguinsandtheTantrumofDoom Thu 02-Apr-15 12:38:24

If your place of work and first name were on your profile, it probably isn't hard to get a search result on Facebook, especially if either name is unusual.

InfinitySeven Thu 02-Apr-15 12:38:28

Have you ever been logged into Facebook and your work email, or your work email and the email used for Facebook, at the same time, or on the same device (like your phone?)

Izzy24 Thu 02-Apr-15 12:39:06

Note to self:

Must stop snooping on FB if it triggers suggestions like that!

(Are you sure it does that?!)

Galvanized Thu 02-Apr-15 12:41:10

Change your profile picture and cover picture to ones you're happy being public. Everything else should be private. Problem solved (unless you delete your account entirely). There is no internet anonymity now so just ensure your privacy settings are ramped up to max.

PenguinsandtheTantrumofDoom Thu 02-Apr-15 12:41:17

Izzy - Ithink it does go into the criteria. But the list is pretty damn long. If you went to school with them, or worked at the same place, or had mutual friends, etc then it's pretty likely you'd pop up on their list anyway

PenguinsandtheTantrumofDoom Thu 02-Apr-15 12:43:37

Another thing I've noticed regarding privacy is how much you can read about people from the comments below their profile picture, or cover photo.

Not sure what setting it is, but since your cover photo is public it seems the comments on it are too.

Galvanized Thu 02-Apr-15 12:46:31

That's right penguin. So you need to be happy with both profile and cover photo being public. All past ones can be changed afterwards to friends only tho if you trawl through.

WereJamming Thu 02-Apr-15 12:46:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AlpacaMyBags Thu 02-Apr-15 12:49:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

babygiraffe86 Thu 02-Apr-15 12:53:03

Hmm i don't know about that,

I am 'suggested' a lot of people who I have never heard of and I know have never heard of me,

but things like they went to the same school as me at some point, or work in one of my previous work places etc.

the suggestions don't always relate to someone who has snooped or searched for you.

but turn off your search settings, so you cannot be found in searches, I have, yet still get friend suggestions. hence being dubious on the way it is worked out.

nagynolonger Thu 02-Apr-15 12:58:54

It is possible for anyone with membership of the 'family tree' sites to find out quite a lot on line. They can look up details of births, marriages and deaths. They can't get full detail without buying a certificate but you can find year/area of marriage and spouse's name.

I've managed to trace old school friends whose married name I didn't know. Just by guessing a marriage year and assuming they did the traditional thing, ie the bride was married near her family home.

I've managed to make contact with close friends from school on fb.

If someone was determined to 'find' you and they knew your maiden name, home town, took a guess at your age (likely marriage date) they might be able to trace you.

If you have a photo of yourself on your profile page that would confirm your identity.

Magichat Thu 02-Apr-15 13:10:22

I'm wondering whether I should just delete my profile. I live abroad so it's a good way to keep in touch, but it seems too easy to be seen by anyone and everyone.
I once searched for a new friend, but wasn't sure it was her (she had a cat as her profile pic). I then popped up on her friend suggestion despite no links between us or mutual friends, just because I'd clicked on her profile. I have no doubt that you get friend suggestions from people who click to be nosy, but don't request you

PenguinsandtheTantrumofDoom Thu 02-Apr-15 13:14:29

I wouldn't go that far. Assuming your first name is not so unusual as to be identifying, remove your places of work and make your profile picture and cover photo one that isn't your face. lots of 'arty' shots work well.

If someone searched Sarah Smith and Amershot consulting (totally made up btw) and you haven't linked Amershot and are Sarah Twver on Facebook, there's no reason it would return anything. And if the profile picture isn't your face, it means nothing if it does.

Bishopston Tue 02-Jun-15 10:23:42

I'm pretty sure from my own recent experience that you are right, Magichat, I recently snooped on some people's profiles and they subsequently came up as 'suggested friends'. So what you're saying does sort of tie in with that.

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