Meta’s Oversight Board Wants The Tech Giant To Fortify Its Policies On Doxing Across Its Social Media Platforms

The Meta Oversight Board has recently issued a set of recommendations, urging the social media conglomerate to further compound upon security policies preventing doxing on its platforms.

Doxing and all of its different subtypes like SWAT-ting are nightmarish scenarios that I will forever maintain an irrational sense of fear over. SWAT-ting specifically is a type of crime that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. Imagine police surrounding your home just because some teenage imbecile thought that it’d be a gas to prank his neighbor by calling the cops on him. Sometimes, I think it genuinely is an incredibly random fear, and that police would at best just hold a formal inquiry and leave everyone at that. Other times, I remember that cops rarely ever exercise any form of restraint and people have literally died as a result of said prank calls. So, yeah, living in a Black Mirror episode is not my idea of a good time, and doxing individuals regardless of sociopolitical stance is a dangerous activity with effects that ripple out much further than the original perpetrator could ever hope to control.

Some of our older readers might be wondering what doxing means? It’s essentially an activity via which netizens expose the private information of other netizens; in typical cases across Facebook, this usually means exposing the original ID of a smurf account, while in other cases it could mean divulging a user’s real name, home address, and/or phone number to a large audience of individuals. Again, as mentioned before, it’s nearly impossible to control the effect that doxing an individual can have on their life; users can’t control the audience they’re showing off the information to, and even if they could, they definitely can’t control the reaction that they’ll have. It’s a major problem with revealing any sort of information on the internet, since one’s audience has a sense of anonymity that’s difficult to get over. This allows said audience to quite literally mess around in whatever way they see fit.

Meta already has policies in place to prevent doxing, but they do little more than simply discourage it. Users still can, and sometimes do, get doxed across direct messages or private groups, since moderating them is difficult. Algorithms aren’t particularly reliable either, since doxed messages simply provide information that doesn’t really ring any alarming bells. To an AI, addresses and phone numbers are just random numbers and letters.

The Oversight Board now wishes for Meta to both update its AI and policy to now identify addresses of any sort being posted in groups public and private. Such posts will then have to be manually assessed, with the addresses being allowed being ones posted for legitimate purposes (sharing addresses with friends, real estate, or information that is publicly available).

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