The term ‘doxxing’ is popping up more and more, in the news and in conversations around online behaviors. The Australian government, US government, California, Colorado, Oregon, Connecticut, Hong Kong, and Nevada have passed anti-doxxing laws. We expect many more states and countries to follow suit, as a year of heavy Internet usage has focused the attention of citizens and lawmakers alike on the real-world problem of digital-world threats.
What does this mean for Trust & Safety professionals? Let's break this down.
‘Doxxing’ refers to ‘dropping docs’. It is a type of online behavior that happens when when a person or organized group researches a target, collects personal and private information about them and releases it publicly. This information may include personal email, home address or phone number, photographs, place of employment - any sensitive information that can be released with malicious intent.
Most of the anti-doxxing laws that are currently being passed pave the way for fining and jailing perpetrators. At this point, none hold the social platforms accountable, even if they may have been the sources of the doxxing information.
Regardless, social platforms are layering these tactics to help prevent their users from experiencing doxxing.
As we mentioned, none of these laws hold platforms accountable as the sources of doxxing materials. So, why bother protecting your users from doxxing?
There are a number of reasons that companies should care about doxxing beyond legal compliance. Doxxing has caused people to leave their jobs, flee from their houses, and remove children from schools. Physical assaults and swatting (false police reports) have occurred as a result of doxxing. In an extreme case, an airplane was diverted and forced to land as the result of a doxxing event.
Even if the consequences of current legislation are focused on the individuals that perpetrate the doxxing rather than the platforms where it happens, it is still a critical concern for platform Trust & Safety. Incorporating thoughtful, layered doxxing prevention strategies into Trust & Safety initiatives can help create safe online communities, protecting your audience and your brand.
Doxing Definition: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doxing
Anti-Defamation League announcement of the Connecticut law:
Nevada Law passed:
Australian online Trolling laws
Anti-Stalking Law,US Code 2261A