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Understanding Doxing and How to Stay Safe

What is Doxing? 

Doxing (or doxxing) is a term used to describe unauthorized sharing of private or personal information about another person, typically online. Collecting and even posting this data is generally not a crime (though laws are evolving and beginning to catch up). Depending on how the data is used, such as to gain unauthorized access to accounts, a crime may be committed.

Virtually all major social media services, including Mixer, prohibit this activity and will generally act to remove the content when it is reported. 

How are they doing it?

Often the information is already publicly available and requires no special access or “hacking.”  Information can be obtained through public records or may even have been previously posted by the victim themselves. In a life spent online we may forget about the times we mentioned a name, an address, a birthday, a school attended, or posted a photo of a new car. Each of these individual posts, perhaps separated by years, can be collected into one document (the “Dox”) to reveal someone’s full name, residence, age, phone number, license plate number, and more.  Some of the self-shared data doesn’t even need to be specific. A photo showing someone in a sweatshirt with a high school logo, along with a first name, may be all that’s needed to start a targeted public records search.

In rare cases a fake profile may be created on social media to lure friends and family into a place where they feel comfortable sharing otherwise private information. 

What can I do to protect myself?

  • Enable privacy settings on social media to ensure you are in control of who can see what you share.
    • If you are trying to grow as a streamer, you will likely not want to leave your influencer profiles like Instagram and Twitter private for long. You could temporarily lock them down while you audit your old social media posts to ensure everything you shared in the past is still something you want shared today.
  • Make full use of secure authentication on your accounts, including using Two-Factor authentication if available.
  • Review your accounts for suspicious activity.
  • Ensure you have not shared details such as your neighborhood or address, past schools attended, or personal phone number.
  • Perform an Internet search on your own name periodically. If you find unauthorized personal data, including fake profiles, contact the hosting service and request it be taken down.
  • Advise family and friends that as a streamer you may be targeted for doxing. They should be cautious about whom they share information with and be alert for inquires about you from people they don’t know. 

What can I do if I’m being Doxed right now?

Do not engage with and preferably do not even acknowledge the person doxing you or that you even were doxed. Try to remain calm and remember that your reaction is their reward.  You can deny them any satisfaction and take back power they may have simply by refusing to acknowledge them. Any attempts at understanding, negotiating, arguing, or expressing anger and outrage run the risk of inviting more contact and providing the doxer with additional information or confirming information they already had.

Block all accounts used to contact you with doxing info. Chances are the unwanted contact will not stop after blocking a single account, so be prepared to block multiple accounts. Blocking accounts is relatively easy compared to creating new accounts. Without an acknowledgement or reward, the investment of time to keep creating new accounts becomes unworthwhile and the person may eventually stop and move on.

Report all doxing activity to the platform where it is happening. Mixer has zero tolerance for doxing. We review all reports and permanently ban accounts used for doxing. 

If you ever feel your personal safety is at risk, contact your local law enforcement immediately. 

How do I move forward?

Live streaming is an exercise in trust. As a streamer you are “putting yourself out there” for the world to see. It’s exciting, engaging, and remarkable to share real-time experiences with people all over the world. However not everyone has the best intentions, so at Mixer we have tools, processes, and people in place to help keep you safe, but we can’t do it alone. You need to be aware of the common ways people try to take advantage of others, how to protect yourself, and how to respond if you are being targeted.

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