Oversight Board Issues Recommendations to Meta on Doxing

The independent entity called on the company to review its policies on sharing of people’s private residential information

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Meta’s Oversight Board urged the company to take steps to outfox the dox.

The independent body to review content moderation on Facebook and Instagram was initially discussed in November 2018 by CEO Mark Zuckerberg and, following several delays, it began taking cases in October 2020.

The board called on Meta to review its policies on how Facebook and Instagram govern the sharing of people’s private residential information, known as doxing, following a series of high-profile incidents affecting public figures and other individuals.

Its recommendations to the company included:

  • Remove the exception that allows the sharing of private residential information when it is considered to be “publicly available.”
  • Create a specific communications channel for victims of doxing, available to people on and off Meta’s platforms.
  • Consider violations of its privacy violations policy as “severe,” immediately suspending user accounts where the sharing of private residential information is clearly related to malicious action that creates a risk of violence or harassment.

Oversight Board director Thomas Hughes said in a statement, “The malicious sharing of private residential addresses on social media is a serious problem that can lead to real-world harms, including stalking and harassment. The Oversight Board has made detailed recommendations to Meta that aim to protect anyone at risk of such attacks while defending freedom of expression. This guidance is about protecting privacy and ultimately making Meta’s platforms safer for people. We have urged Meta to show accountability and transparency in this work and publish quantitative data on the enforcement of the privacy violations policy. We will continue to engage closely with Meta on these critical issues of public safety.”