User Manual:Hear About It

Meitar Moscovitz edited this page Sep 27, 2013 · 8 revisions

Even if you have not shared any information about another person yourself, you can use the Predator Alert Tool for Facebook to hear about incidents and watch for patterns of predatory behavior that occurred amongst your group of friends.

Decades of statistics show that most survivors are assaulted by someone they already have a pre-existing relationship with, not by a stranger. Numerous studies (Lisak and Miller, 2002; McWhorter, 2009) show that the overwhelming majority of sexual assaults are perpetrated by a small number of repeat offenders. These facts strongly suggest that preventing repeated sexual assaults and rape is most effectively accomplished by sharing information about a person's predatory behavior as early as possible while keeping oneself safe.

In the same way that a police camera will never be able to stop a given violent crime from hurting someone (unless police cameras somehow acquire the ability to project bullet-proof force-fields to protect passers by), sharing information with the Predator Alert Tool for Facebook will not necessarily be able to stop an individual assault. What it can do, however, is record the occurrence of said assault and thereby make it impossible to silence, bury, or erase that event. This matters because it means individuals interacting with the person about whom the information is shared in the future are able to make a more informed choice about what they feel they need to do to remain safe while in the presence of said person than they would have been able to make if that information had been suppressed or censored.

How the Predator Alert Tool's "alerts" work

There are three ways the Predator Alert Tool for Facebook shows you information shared with it about people in your social network.

  1. Information about your Facebook friends
  2. Information on people you've shared about
  3. Search results you have access to view

The first two are both displayed in a section of the app Dashboard called "Information from within your network" beneath the "Take action" buttons. The third is only shown to you if you actively seek it out by performing a search for a specific person.

Information from within your network

When you first log in to the Predator Alert Tool for Facebook, you're taken to the app Dashboard. Beneath the "Take action" buttons is the "Information from within your network" section. This section displays lists of statements linked to people who you have some connection to.

Information linked to your Facebook friends

The "Information linked to your Facebook friends" list displays any statements you can see linked to anyone on your Facebook friend list. If you share some information and link it to one of your own Facebook friends, it will show up here. The list shows the current profile picture of the person to whom the statement was linked, the statement's short description, and the date the statement was shared with PAT-Facebook.

By occasionally logging in to PAT-Facebook to look at this list, read any new statements that appear, and encouraging your friends to talk with you about sexual violence, you can help prevent sexual abuse within your social network.

Information linked to people you've linked to

The "Information linked to people you've linked to" list displays any statements you can see linked to people who you have already linked to some information you've shared. If you've had a bad experience with someone and feel safe doing so, you could share that information with other survivors by contributing your story to PAT-Facebook. When another survivor shares their story about their experience and links it to the same person's Facebook profile, their statement appears on this list.

If you have not disabled the "Send me a Facebook notification whenever someone shares information linked to the same person I've linked" preference option, you'll also get a Facebook notification whenever a new statement is added to this list.

In this way, this list serves to facilitate a connection between survivors who have had bad experiences with the same person. When survivors connect and share their stories with each other, they are able to support one another and possibly reach out, collectively, to other survivors who have not yet come forward with their own stories. We are all stronger together; no one should be left alone.

Search results you have access to view

One of the "Take action" buttons on the app Dashboard is "Search." Clicking it takes you to the search page where you can search for any information about a given Facebook user. You can type a person's legal name, username, or Facebook user ID number. If PAT-Facebook finds more than one user with similar information, it will ask you to clarify who you're searching for.

For more information about the search field, read the user manual page about Searching.

Once you have chosen a person to search for, click the "Search" button. PAT-Facebook will show you any statements that you have access to. Click on a statement in the list to read the full statement. If no search results are found, PAT-Facebook will offer you a link to share some information about the person who you searched for.

Browser-side tool

In addition to periodically checking the Predator Alert Tool for Facebook's "Information from within your network" lists for new statements manually, you can automatically search for information about everyone whose posts or comments you can see on Facebook against the PAT-Facebook database in real time, as you browse Facebook.com. To do this, you need to install the Predator Alert Tool for Facebook's browser-side tool, called a "userscript."

From the app Dashboard, click on the "Get alerts" button. This will take you to the browser-side tool installation page.

Once installed in your device, the userscript continually scans the Facebook page you're browsing. Each time it notices a link to another Facebook user's profile, it looks up that Facebook user's Facebook ID number and sends it to the Predator Alert Tool for Facebook's servers as part of a query requesting more information about that user. (It basically just runs a search, just like you might do yourself, but it does so very, very quickly.) If it receives a response stating that PAT-Facebook has more information about this user, the userscript "red-boxes" the links to those people's profiles and offers a you link of its own to the stories it found.

The userscript can only perform the same searches you can, which means it cannot show you any statements that you cannot find by searching for them yourself. Note also that you can be logged in to Facebook at the same time as you can be logged out of the Predator Alert Tool for Facebook app, and if this happens the userscript will only be able to show you statements that are shared publicly. If you notice this happening, simply load the Predator Alert Tool for Facebook app in a new tab. The browser tool will recognize it and log you back in to PAT-Facebook automatically.

For more information about the browser tool, please read the userscript README.