West London Girl

Who needs Snapchat to stalk someone?


'He doesn't seem to wear a wedding ring so it's an easy mistake to make'

It previously drew criticism for facilitating underage sexting and now Snapchat is under fire for its latest feature. Snap Maps uses augmented reality technology to allow other users to track your location in real time as you post pictures. In the first few days of its release, child charity NSPCC was one of many organisations that warned about the feature’s potential to expose children to stalkers. My first thought, however, was that the feature could contribute to a huge amount of pressure on child friendships. Kids can use the app to check whether or not they are left out of any social invites and compare how others are spending their spare time.

What’s more, you don’t need Snap Maps to stalk someone. This week I’ve discovered how easy it is to find out about someone’s background, knowing a first name and profession only to begin with…

How’s the foster cat?Sabine asked.
‘Don’t ask,’ I replied. ‘Though the last vet I saw is rather cute.’
‘What’s his name?’

Quentin had let me know he wouldn’t be seeing me on my next visit but he promised to leave detailed notes for the next vet. Sure enough, another vet was available for my foster cat’s next appointment. Afterwards, I asked Monique’s advice on giving Quentin my phone number.

‘So you’re seeing a female vet but want to get in touch with the male one? Just leave your card, thanking him and say how sorry you are that he wasn’t consulting today but that you hope to see him again,’ she suggested.

The veterinary clinic was closed on my return so I placed the card in a marked envelope and slid it under the door just as my phone rang. It was Sabine, calling to exchange news. ‘By the way, your vet is married,’ she said, approximately 20 minutes into our call.
‘Oh no – how embarrassing. If only you told me 30 minutes ago.’

Following our call, Sabine forwarded Quentin’s Facebook profile photo in which he posed in a three-piece suit with a beautiful bride. ‘He doesn’t seem to wear a wedding ring so it’s an easy mistake to make,’ Sabine added.
‘He wears a signet ring on his wedding finger, which is confusing. Perhaps only the Brits wear a signet ring on their pinky.’
‘I’m going to triple check that the bride isn’t his sister – they do look alike.’ Following further online research, Sabine’s hunch turned out to be correct.

A couple of days later, having still not heard from Quentin, I Facebook-stalked him… I soon called Sabine, ‘There’s no chance I’ll hear from him now.’
‘Give him a week. We don’t know when he’s next working at that clinic.’
‘I mean that I think I sent him a “friend” request by mistake.’
‘I accidentally sent one, too.’
‘This is too funny. Tell me you are winding me up.’

It turned out that Sabine was teasing me. Better still, I hadn’t sent the vet a Facebook ‘friend’ request: Quentin’s request filter is set at ‘friends of friends’ which had led me to think I’d already sent a request.
‘Perhaps you’re not the first person to stalk him,’ Sabine said.
‘That’s reassuring.’

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