“Doxxing” has emerged as a concerning issue across various social media platforms like TikTok, YouTube, Twitch, and others. It involves the harmful practice of publicly exposing an individual’s private details, including their real name, address, contact numbers, workplace, and family information.
This disturbing TikTok trend has prompted worries about user safety and privacy, especially on TikTok, where it has become a prevalent problem. To address these concerns, platforms like TikTok have instituted specific rules and guidelines to safeguard user privacy and create a safer digital environment.
TikTok, much like other widely-used social media platforms, has evolved into a hub for creativity, communication, and sometimes controversies. However, this surge in popularity has also attracted negative activities like doxxing, which can have serious repercussions in the real world for the victims.
It is crucial for users to comprehend the meaning and potential dangers of doxxing, enabling them to navigate the online landscape safely and exercise caution when sharing personal information.
Why is it named Doxxing?
The term “doxxing” originates from the word “documents.” During the 1990s hacker culture, the term was shortened to “docs” and then further abbreviated to “dox.” “Dropping dox” referred to the act of locating personal documents or information, such as someone’s physical address, and publishing them on the internet. The hacker collective Anonymous played a significant role in popularizing this term.
What does Doxxing mean on TikTok?
‘Doxxed’ or ‘doxxing’ refers to the malicious act of publicly revealing an individual’s private or personal information on the internet without their consent. This can encompass exposing their real name, address, workplace, or any other personal details on an online platform.
Across various social media platforms, there are rules and regulations aimed at ensuring user safety and providing a secure and enjoyable experience while using the app. The term ‘doxxed’ signifies the invasive practice of searching for and disclosing an individual’s private or identifiable information online, often driven by harmful intentions. This information can range from basic details like names and addresses to more sensitive data such as social security numbers or financial particulars.
On TikTok, users are vulnerable to potential doxxing risks, especially if they engage in controversial content, express unpopular opinions, or unintentionally share private information in their videos. Given TikTok’s swift sharing capabilities, once doxxed, a user’s private information can rapidly circulate, leading to both online and offline harassment. The repercussions of doxxing can be severe, encompassing unwanted attention, online abuse, and even threats in the physical world.
Although TikTok has implemented policies to combat doxxing, users are strongly advised to exercise caution when sharing personal information and to stay vigilant regarding potential risks associated with their online presence.
What does TikTok say about Doxxing?
TikTok addresses doxxing as part of their ‘harassment and bullying’ policies. The platform clearly states that any content involving doxxing will be swiftly removed to ensure a safe online community.
Additionally, TikTok provides users with a range of support resources and tools to enhance their safety while using the app. These resources empower users to take action against any instances of doxxing or harassment they might come across.
Is it illegal to Dox someone?
Doxxing itself is not inherently illegal, largely due to the lack of specific anti-doxxing laws in many jurisdictions. Instead, the legality of doxxing is assessed case by case. While gathering or publishing publicly available information is generally not illegal, those engaged in doxxing can potentially be charged with other crimes like stalking, harassment, identity theft, or incitement to violence.
In recent times, governments across the globe have started to pass or propose legislation to combat doxxing. For instance, the US state of Kentucky enacted an anti-doxxing law in 2021, and Hong Kong followed suit the same year.
In the United States, doxxing could be addressed under existing laws like the Interstate Communications Statute and the Interstate Stalking Statute, depending on the specific circumstances of a case. Moreover, doxxing might breach the terms of service of certain platforms. For example, Twitter explicitly forbids the posting of private information of another individual without their consent.
What to do if you get doxxed?
If you’ve fallen victim to doxxing or suspect it’s happening to you, immediate action is vital to limit the dissemination of your personal data. Here’s what you should do if you suspect you’ve been doxxed:
- Record the Evidence: Gather proof of the doxxing incident by taking screenshots or documenting any instance where your personal information was shared without consent. These records will be crucial if you need to report the incident to authorities.
- Secure Your Accounts: Enhance the security of your online accounts. Generate strong, unique passwords for each account and securely store them using a reputable password manager. Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) to add an extra layer of protection to your accounts.
- Seek Support: Reach out to a trusted friend or family member for emotional support and assistance. Coping with doxxing can be emotionally draining, and having someone to guide you through the process can be immensely beneficial.
- Update Personal Information: Consider changing your phone number, usernames, or any other personally identifiable information that may have been exposed, based on the extent of the breach. This step helps prevent unauthorized access to your accounts.
- Safeguard Your Data: Be proactive in safeguarding your data against leaks. Exercise caution when sharing information online and regularly review your privacy settings on social media platforms. Avoid disclosing excessive personal details that could be misused.
Remember, taking swift action and seeking assistance are crucial in managing the aftermath of doxxing and reinforcing your online safety and security.
How to report Doxxing incidents on Social media?
It’s important to recognize that doxxing can happen on any social media platform. If you come across content that could pose harm to you or others, it’s vital to report it promptly. Here’s a guide on how to report such content on different platforms:
- Find the Tweet you want to report.
- Tap the icon at the top of the Tweet.
- Choose “Report Tweet.”
- Locate the post you wish to report.
- Tap the three dots in the top right corner of the post.
- Select “Find Support” or “Report Post.”
- Opt for the category that best describes how the post violates Community Standards and tap “Next.”
- Click “Submit.”
- Click the three dots at the top right of the post.
- Choose “Report.”
- Pick the video you want to report.
- Click the arrow in the bottom right corner of the video.
- Opt for “Report” from the options provided.
- Select “Misleading” from the available choices.
- Hit “Submit.”
After reporting on the concerned social media support, you should also report via the following depending upon the severity of the incident.
To report potential cybercrimes, especially instances of doxxing that can constitute a criminal offense, adhere to these steps:
- Contact Local Law Enforcement: Reach out to your local law enforcement department to report the incident. You can visit a nearby police station, call their non-emergency line, or refer to their official website for guidance on reporting cybercrimes.
- Offer Detailed Information: Clearly explain the incident, providing as many specifics as possible. Include details about the doxxing, threats, harassment, or any other cybercrimes experienced. Make sure to provide dates, times, and relevant online platforms involved.
- Submit Evidence: Share any evidence you’ve gathered, such as screenshots, webpage downloads, or any other pertinent documents. This evidence is crucial for law enforcement to comprehend the gravity of the situation and take appropriate action.
- Cooperate and Follow Guidance: Collaborate with law enforcement officials and follow their guidance for providing additional information or aiding the investigation. This may involve sharing more evidence or offering further insights into the incident.
- Stay Informed About the Case: Remain updated on the progress of the case. Request a case number and contact details of the investigator handling your case to follow up on the investigation and receive updates.
- Seek Legal Counsel: If necessary, consult with an attorney for guidance and support throughout the legal process. They can provide advice regarding your rights, legal options, and the best course of action if the case proceeds.
Remember, timely reporting of cybercrimes and providing accurate information and evidence is critical for authorities to take suitable action, ensuring the safety and security of those affected by cybercrimes like doxxing.