Hi, everyone, and welcome back to "A Word About". Today we'll be discussing a phenomenon known as "doxxing."Doxxing, also spelled doxing, is defined as finding and publicly distributing personal information via the internet, such as names, addresses, phone number, workplace, and other items.
While this can be done by law enforcement to trace back certain individuals doing crimes online, most of the time it is done by vigilantes overly interested in extremist measures like social justice, feminism, or other brands of internet ideologies.
Doxxing has been used in the past by famous figures like Anonymous and 4Chan to leak information from animal abusers, the KKK, and in general, racist individuals, particularly with the recent events in Ferguson. While this may seem like a good thing when it comes to finding bad people, this can ultimately backfire and spiral into a clusterfuck of a situation.
As discovered through trial and error, it is incredibly easy to leak incorrect information, causing a person who is innocent to be targeted. For example, a Tumblr user who was harassing another blogger put out the info of her target and not her own, causing her target to be the one spammed with death threats and called at work/home. Another Tumblr user had her abuser find her after a doxxer mistakenly doxxed her because another person used her information. It is incredibly easy to put out fake information under someone's name and then put their information when that person has done nothing wrong.
To add to this, many Tumblr users will hack and doxx people with whom they had an argument or whom they disagree with. Just recently, a controversial comic artist on Tumblr known as plebcomics was doxxed, hacked, and deleted, and she was forced to resign after these doxxers sent pornographic emails to her boss. Despite claims that she put her information online purposefully, I have yet to see any proof of this. For more on this, read my Tumblr post.
And, last but not least, doxxing is illegal.
One should never dox for any reason for the same reason one should never send death threats - it is illegal and just plain wrong.
To avoid being doxxed, be careful about the information you put online. Do not release anything that can be used against you, such as your name, your phone number, any personal profiles (such as Facebook), and in general be cautious of people asking you for anything. This should be common sense, however it isn't for many people.
If you do get doxxed, follow these steps
, and contact the authorities if you fear for yourself at all.
However, the fear of doxxing should not keep you from posting opinions and controversial topics - the internet is made for discussion. If some whiny children cannot handle it, don't worry.