Meta Adopts New Doxxing Policies

Meta is updating its residential information policy in response to some of its Oversight Board’s recommendations for making it harder for users to doxx each other on Facebook.

The company solicited the Oversight Board’s opinion on its residential information policy, which is supposed to prevent Facebook users from posting someone’s home address to the platform, in June 2021. The board published its policy advisory opinion (PAO) in February.

“Once this information is shared, the harms that can result, such as doxing, are difficult to remedy,” the Oversight Board says in the February blog post. “Harms resulting from doxing disproportionately affect groups such as women, children and LGBTQIA+ people, and can include emotional distress, loss of employment and even physical harm or death.”

Meta has now responded to the PAO (PDF). The company says it will fully implement five of the board’s recommendations, plans to partly implement one recommendation, assess the feasibility of six others, and take no further action on the remaining five recommendations.

The changes will see Meta remove a clause that allowed Facebook users to share residential information if it’s publicly available, allow photos of residences in most news stories, clarify its policy, and provide more information to users who run afoul of a specific policy guideline.

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Meta says that it will also “update the Instagram Community Guidelines to match the Facebook Community Standards and identify the small number of instances where the policies differ.” That should make it easier for Instagram and its users to enforce Facebook’s anti-doxxing policy.

The recommendations that require further assessment include provisions allowing users to request or provide additional context about policy violations. Other recommendations include temporary suspensions for those policy violations and the option to remove flagged content.

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