What the Doxx?

Submitted by on the 26th of November 2018
The ultimate guide to what Doxxing is and why it’s the biggest trend on social media

 

Meet Clayton Smith*, a well-known businessman whose reputation was recently ruined and whose house has been spray-painted with slurs such as “Animal Killer”. The reason for all of this? Days before the attack on his house, his ex-business partner went on a revenge rant on social media, falsely accusing Clayton of being a rhino poacher and releasing Clayton’s personal home address online.

The decision to not only spread lies but also share Clayton’s home address is a negative social media practice known as “Doxxing”.

What is Doxxing and are you a perpetrator?

“Dropping Documents”, Doxxing for short, is the act of broadcasting someone’s information on social media with malicious intent.

Doxxing is not just something hackers do – anyone can execute it.  All a perpetrator needs are motive and access to the victim’s information – now easily accessible thanks to the internet. From analysing profiles on social media platforms, to watching YouTube video tutorials on how to Doxx, becoming a professional internet troll is not at all difficult.

While you may never have intentionally incited a Doxx on anyone, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re guilt-free. Re-tweeting, liking or engaging with posts that aim to destroy a person’s reputation, could be considered as participation in and the endorsement of Doxxing.

Could Doxxing happen to you?

Doxxers aren’t just people who have grudges against the rich and famous, they could target anyone at any time – even you. It’s important to be aware of the type of behaviour on social media that could make you more susceptible to Doxxing. Here are some examples of online behaviour that could leave you vulnerable.

  • Sharing photos of your newly obtained driver’s license on social media.
  • Commenting with your cellphone number on posts.
  • Publicly divulging any other personal information such as your ID number or email address.

What can you do about it?

All social media platforms have tools to combat posts that could lead to people being victimized, for example, both Facebook and Twitter allows users to report content that promotes negative behaviour.

It is up to the public to hold others accountable by calling out harmful online behaviour and reporting the culprits. It is also the duty of the individual to promote responsible behavior on social media by being an example and refraining from getting involved in all forms of internet trolling.

 

Stay tuned for our upcoming blog posts with more topics on Doxxing including, the psychology of Doxxing, tips on how to make sure it doesn’t happen to you, and what to do if it does.

 

*The character in this story is fictional. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.