Reasons NOT to Dox
It’s tempting in times like these to dox people.
Don’t do it. Ever.
What’s doxxing? It’s the Internet-based practice of researching and publicly broadcasting private or identifying information (especially personally-identifying information) about an individual or organization.
Plain and simple, while it seems harmless, that’s a superficial understanding of it. It’s potentially incredibly dangerous and there are good reasons it is prohibited on nearly every large internet platform and by journalists with integrity. We are seeing it all over for Derek Chauvin right now and it’s too late to stop it entirely. Like SARS CoV-2, all we can do it try to slow the spread now.
A common defense for doxxing you’ll hear is “So what! This person is bad and they should be called out!”. Or in Chauvin’s case, “This dude SHOULD feel his safety is at risk.”
So why then is it dangerous?
Let’s say you want to post the county parcel information of Chauvin’s residence that’s circulating right now.
Attached is a screenshot I took of one of the doxxings that’s running rampant right now on Twitter. The address is of a man in Florida with the same name. This “other” Derek Chauvin is about to fight a hellstorm he never ever should have been a part of because some idiot who thought they had good intentions had the power of Google, but lacked the foresight of unintended consequences and the intelligence to know the difference between Florida and Minnesota.
And you might be saying to yourself “But hotlou, I am very smart and I would never make a mistake as stupid as that one.”
To that I say …
Unless you have personally vetted that the address is his and his only, that he is the only person to occupy that residence at all times, AND that you can guarantee that some moron who sees your post is NOT going to screw up the parcel number and burn down his neighbor’s house that has a sleeping kid in it, you need to be aware that the risks you create by doxxing are that innocent lives can be harmed or destroyed by idiots thinking they are doing the right thing.
And further, inform people who do it why it’s bad and that they should delete their posts. If they refuse, report their post to the platform on which it was published so that it will be removed. Innocent people dying is what stirred up this mess with Chauvin and adding more innocent victims to the mix is the very last thing we need.