Doxxing is the modern witch-hunt.
“Doxxing” technically means “searching for personal information about someone and publishing it online,” but what’s important are the consequences of being doxxed: having your home and work addresses revealed, receiving a torrent of death threats, and most likely losing your job.
For example, Justine Sacco, a communications professional in California, once tweeted “Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!” while on a plane to South Africa. She had under 200 followers. (A joke, about which she thought “there was no way that anyone could possibly think it was literal.”)
Upon landing, she was the #1 trending topic on Twitter, “workers were threatening to strike at the hotels she had booked if she showed up” and “she was told no one could guarantee her safety.” Soon after she was fired from her communications job.
(As reported by Jon Ronson, whose book, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, I keep meaning to read. UPDATE 6/5/2019: I finally read it. It was pretty good.)
(Also, if you’re into personal narratives, another great book on the topic is Out of the Blue by Jan Wong.)
This is my biggest fear about having a blog.
If I could, I would buy doxxing insurance: something that would pay me money and provide me with help from security professionals in the event of being doxxed.
I don’t know whether this would be profitable for insurance companies. One consequence might be more trolling, since people could try generating outrage just to claim the insurance payout.
But perhaps if would-be doxxers knew their target had this insurance, doxxing would be less attractive. And more people would be free to make jokes and state opinions without fearing for their lives.
Insurance companies, please make this a thing.