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In California, both criminal and civil laws address stalking and online harassment.

According to the criminal laws, a stalker is someone who willfully, maliciously and repeatedly follows or harasses another (victim) and who makes a credible threat with the intent to place the victim or victim's immediate family in fear for their safety.

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Even with strong privacy settings or a private profile, a stalker might be able to access your account.

A few of the ways this can be accomplished include: Often related to social media is another type of harassment called “revenge porn,” or the online posting of explicit photos or videos of people without their permission.

(California Penal Code 653m.) Additionally, it is illegal to make credible threats by means of any electronic communication device, including but not limited to telephones, cell phones, smart phones, tablets and computers.

(California Penal Code 442.)Another law makes it a crime to use an electronic communication device to distribute personal information of another person without their consent, and with the intent to harass them or cause them fear.

For more information and tips, visit the National Center for Victims of Crimes webpage: If You Are a Victim of Cyberstalking.

The fact that cyberstalking doesn’t involve physical contact doesn’t mean it is any less dangerous than “real life” stalking.

There are laws providing for criminal and civil liability for revenge porn (see below), but victims may want to first take action to get the material taken down as quickly as possible.

Many social media sites have created policies for reporting and removing this kind of material from their websites.

Cyberstalking involves using the Internet or other electronic means to stalk a victim, and generally refers to a pattern of threatening or malicious behaviors.

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