Meta closes ‘publicly available’ exception to doxxing policy after Oversight Board recommendations

Technology


Meta has announced that it will be making changes to its ‘doxxing’ rules as a response to recommendations made by The Oversight Board in a policy advisory opinion. Until the announcement, the company allowed the sharing of private residential addresses and information if it was considered ‘publicly available’ data. Doxxing refers to revealing private or identification information about an individual. Usually, doxxing is carried with the malicious intent of causing harm to the person whose information is being revealed.

The Oversight Board is a global body of experts that reviews Meta’s decisions related to content on Facebook and Instagram. Its administration is funded by an independent trust and supported by an independent company.

Meta already has ‘Privacy Violation’ policies that are put in place to prevent this exact thing from happening. But an earlier version of this policy made an exception for data that was already considered to be publicly available.

“We also recognise that private information may become publicly available through news coverage, court filings, press releases or other sources. When that happens, we may allow the information to be posted,” reads an older version of the policy.

The Oversight Board made the following recommendation for this exception: “Remove the exception that allows the sharing of private residential information when considered ‘publicly available’.

The Oversight Board made a total of 17 recommendations to Meta, including the removal of the exception where the company would allow sharing of private information when it is already publicly available. Meta said that it is implementing five of these recommendations fully, taking no further action on five, assessing the feasibility of six and implementing one in part.

The social media giant declined a recommendation from the Oversight Board which asked it to create a specific channel of communication to provide quick support to doxxing victims. Meta also said that it is assessing the feasibility of the board’s recommendation to classify doxxing as a ‘severe’ violation, which could get user accounts suspended.





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