Since Facebook rebranded itself into Meta in October 2021, the platform has implemented an array of measures aimed at increasing and protecting user privacy. Among the most recent actions taken, there is a ban to share private residential info, such as home addresses.
The change was introduced at the recommendation of the Oversight Board, to whom the company turned for an assessment of its methods of handling such type of personal information. In its statement, the Board called upon Meta to review and strengthen its policies regarding which personal information should not be allowed for publishing on the platform. From this time on, even if private home addresses are made publicly available, they will no longer be shared on any of Meta’s resources.
The exception that permitted sharing publically available addresses of someone’s private residences was removed due to concerns that such behavior could encourage doxxing, a widespread malicious hackish practice that involves searching for and open publishing of identifying information about a person.
Even though Instagram and Facebook already had similar security policies in place, those only forbade publishing a person’s home address unless it was publicly disclosed, i.e., appeared in public records or was mentioned in five or more news outlets.
Meta promises to allow users to continue posting their own private residence addresses; however, re-sharing of those by others is strictly forbidden since it is often impossible to be sure that the resident has consented to have their address shared on social media.
What do you make of Meta’s upcoming policy changes? Do you think the platform is doing enough to offer protection for victims of cybercrimes, including doxxing? Speak up in the comments and share the story with your friends!