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Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2011 Dec;14(12):711-6. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2010.0588. Epub 2011 Jul 6.

College students' Facebook stalking of ex-partners.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858, USA.


There are abundant anecdotes and warnings of inappropriate behaviors on social networking sites, particularly about Facebook. The purpose of the present study was to examine whether individuals obsessively monitor or harass their ex-partners on Facebook (related to general "Facebook stalking") and, if so, whether those individuals would also engage in cyber obsessional pursuit (COP) and obsessive relational pursuit (ORI), which are categories of cyberstalking and stalking. A total of 411 valid participants answered questions about the ways they communicated with their ex-romantic partners using Facebook, resulting in three factors: Covert Provocation, Public Harassment, and Venting. Each category of Facebook harassment was related to perpetration of COP and ORI. Additionally, participants who engaged in COP were almost six times more likely to also perpetrate ORI. If participants admitted to engaging in some types of stalking behaviors, they did so online, offline, and on Facebook. Implications for social networking site usage and stalking laws are discussed. There is a kernel of truth to the popular term "Facebook stalking."

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