The Doxx Files

Submitted by on the 4th of December 2018

Understanding the Psychology of Doxxing and how it has changed people’s lives forever.

Doxxers: What motivates them?

The broadcasting of private information with malicious intent can be summed up in one word, Doxxing. You’ve probably seen it happening on your timeline where leaked information has caused social media chaos, but are you aware of the motivations behind those who incite a Doxx?

Some of the motives for Doxxing include revenge, extreme and misguided political views and jealousy, while some perpetrators Doxx just for laughs.


The traits of a Doxxer: Could you be one?

Doxxing is a fairly new concept and chances are the ideas people have of who is capable of such activity is based on stereotypes. Some might think that Doxxers are socially awkward hackers, while others might think that Doxxers are simply ignorant participants in the sharing of information.

However, in a Time Magazine article about internet trolls, Jessica Moreno – an ex-Reddit employee – points out that a troll “could be a doctor, lawyer, an inspirational speaker and a Kindergarten teacher.” The article further mentions that a study published in the Psychology journal Personality and Individual Differences found that some of the users who self-identified as trolls showed personality traits of narcissism, psychopathy and sadism.

An incident where Donald Trump revealed primary opponent Senator Lindsey Graham’s cellphone number during a live televised rally, is an example of Doxxing. While it is not certain what President Trump’s motives were, it just goes to show that anyone can find themselves involved in Doxxing.

Doxxing: When sharing isn’t caring.

To those who engage in Doxxing – albeit knowingly or unknowingly, it might just seem like nothing more than comments and shares, but for the victims it could mean a complete disruption of their lives.

A YouTube video on real life Doxxing stories highlights how employees and potential candidates have had to tell current and prospective employers that people might make harassment calls to the office, information that could surely impact their chances of work prospects. Business Insider reported that after the picture of a white supremacist surfaced, a University professor who bore similar resemblance to the man had to temporarily relocate from his home after being Doxxed despite not being a white supremacist himself.


How to launch a counterattack – the right way.

Seeing someone get Doxxed on social media is not comfortable to watch and it’s even more unbearable when it happens to a friend. Your instincts might push you to want to attack the Doxxer, but there are ways you can help your friend combat the situation without getting involved in a social media war.

How to help Doxxing victims:

  • Take screenshots of everything and make sure the date and URL are there. This will help if your friend wants to take legal action.
  • If their location has been compromised, advise them to get to a safe alternative location.
  • Release your friend of the emotional burden of being Doxxed by helping them to monitor the situation.
  • Advise your friend to change their passwords on all platforms in case of an attempted security breach.
  • Report the posts that contain the Doxxing information. Most social media platforms have policies in place on how to deal with these situations, here’s Twitter’s.

There’s more to follow on our upcoming blogs as we discuss how to protect yourself from being Doxxed and how to respond if it happens to you. If you’re still unsure about what Doxxing is and you haven’t read our first blog in this series, give it a read here.