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Board accepts Facebook opinion request on sharing users’ residential information


San Francisco: The independent Oversight Board on Tuesday said it has accepted a policy advisory opinion request from Facebook on the sharing of private residential information.

According to Facebook, residential addresses can be relevant to journalism and civic activism, but “exposing this information without consent can create a risk to residents’ safety and infringe on an individual’s privacy.”

While there have been several high-profile instances recently where Facebook has removed this type of content, this request for a policy advisory opinion is not linked to a specific post, the Board said in a statement.

In its request, Facebook noted several potential harms linked to releasing personal information, including residential addresses.

These include “doxing” (which refers to the release of documents, abbreviated as “dox”).

Facebook claimed that “justice” and “revenge” are common motivations for doxing behaviour and that this can have negative real-world consequences such as swatting (a wrong-premises police raid) and being targeted for harassment or stalking.

As part of this, the Board has issued a call for public comments till July 9.

Facebook highlighted that both human rights and tech experts indicate that doxing and other forms of online harassment disproportionately impact women and girls, as well as other vulnerable users.

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