Receiving an unwanted friend request is a tricky situation that happens to almost everyone who owns a Facebook account. You know what I am talking about. You may have received a friend request from an old enemy or coworker you despised -- or even worse, an old ex. After all, one of Facebook's main uses is to reconnect with people you've lost touch with over the years.
While it is great in some cases, it can be a burden if someone you want no connection with tries to become your friend. You may be suffering from paranoia that they are doing it just to spy on your profile, or maybe you just prefer to maintain silence with the person.
Either way, you will send some type of message to that person. If you ignore or reject their friend request, you are showing them that they no longer interest you. If you accept out of curiosity, you may let them into your “online world,” and they could send you a personal message that you might feel the need to respond to.
If you have particular people that you want to hide from via Facebook to prevent the uncomfortable event of an unwanted friend request, you do have a way to do so. Basically, you want to find those people on the social network and block them. Consider it a preemptive strike.
First, think of all the people you know that you do not want any contact with. Once your list is complete, search for their Facebook profiles. If they have a generic name, try to narrow down the search by their location, school, etc. Perhaps the best way to search for them is by entering their email address. When you see their profile, look for the "Report/Block this Person" link on the lower left-hand side. Unless they've done something bad to you, do not report them. Instead, simply check the "Block this person" box and hit "Submit."
What if you cannot find a specific person you want to block? It could be that the person does not have a Facebook account yet. In this case, go to the upper right-hand corner of your profile and click on the Account menu. Select the "Edit your lists of blocked people and applications" option. Enter in the unwanted people's email addresses. Once finished, those email addresses will essentially be blacklisted, meaning if their owners sign up for Facebook, they will be blocked from contacting you.
If you want to take a more drastic approach, you can block all incoming friend requests. Go to the Account menu and select "Privacy Settings." Click "Connecting on Facebook." From here you will be able to tweak who can search for you, who can send you friend requests, and more. To prevent outsiders from finding/requesting you, you can change the settings to current friends only.
Last, but not least, you want to make sure you are somewhat shielded from a Google search. Go to "Privacy Settings" and click on "Edit your settings" under "Apps and Websites." Next to "Public search," click "Edit Settings." Make sure the "Enable public search" box is not checked.
Now that you know how to keep unwanted friend requests from hitting you on Facebook, you should perform these steps for some added peace of mind.
For more on this topic, visit the Computerworld story.
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