Facts are facts.
We’re talking about Amy Mek, a prolific Twitter user, who is the subject of a bizarre piece by the Huffington Post’s Luke O’Brien titled, “Trump’s Loudest Anti-Muslim Twitter Troll Is A Shady Vegan Married To An (Ousted) WWE Exec.”
Sub, “@AmyMek anonymously spread hate online for years. She can’t hide anymore.”
So yes, that’s doxxing. And it’s being conducted by a Verizon company. Verizon bought AOL. And AOL bought Arianna Huffington’s cage of trolls and crazies. So the reputational risk is on them.
HotAir’s Taylor Millard has some sort of random word puddle denying the doxxing part while gleefully laughing about it. I couldn’t make it through half of it. And see no reason to try.
So let’s get to the substance of the argument.
One such person is the Twitter user @AmyMek, a woman residing firmly in MAGA-land, who enjoys a wide following from all political ideologies for her opinions on immigration, justice reform, and Islam. She relished the fruits of being famous (over 200K Twitter followers!) while staying behind what she believed was a wall of anonymity. ..
Huffington Post determined something different. The online publication was able to not only track down @AmyMek’s identity ********* they also exposed some of her background and family in New Jersey along with her husband’s day job as a senior executive with World Wrestling Entertainment. Her friendship with a convicted murderer came to light. Someone gave HuffPost access to an old high school yearbook, so they could grab her class photo. It’s an excellent piece of journalism and detective work akin to Djuna Barnes or the fictional private investigator Philip Marlowe.
That last sentence is too stupid for words. And there are plenty of Twitter users with 100K+ followers counts. It doesn’t make them public figures.
But the rest of it is classic doxxing. Amy’s wall of anonymity was “exposed”. Along with that of her family. They ran her high school yearbook photo.
This isn’t journalism. It’s doxxing.
The HuffPo expose didn’t actually expose anything. At least no more than you would expose by prying into any random person’s life. The story didn’t add a meaningful dimension to anything. Its goal was to harass her. Getting her husband fired made that very obvious.
Had Amy really been a Muslim, then the story would have shed light on something. Had she really been a troll just faking it, that would have actually shed light on something. But instead it was just an exercise in cruelty for the sake of cruelty. And Millard’s own description makes that clear.
So how is that not doxxing?
Yet, did Huffington Post actually dox Mekelburg by outing someone who is enjoying popularity and celebrity in the Internet Age via Twitter?
The answer is, quite simply and profoundly, no.
Profoundly? If HotAir is going to hire leftists, can they hire one who can write?
Mekelburg’s home address and Social Security number were not made public – nor was any financial information like bank accounts or credit cards. Her husband’s former post at WWE is not a secret, the company proudly announced his hiring last year in a news release. Marriage licenses are public records, and high school yearbooks are done to promote the school and its students.
It’s still doxxing if you don’t actually post someone’s home address. Doxxing routinely uses public records. It takes available information, collects it in one place with a view to ruining the target’s life.
That’s what doxxing is.
This does occasionally overlap with legitimate journalism. But legitimate journalism has a purpose beyond hating someone’s views and then trying to cause them harm.
Legitimate journalism exposes con artists, fake doctors, etc… Exposing someone and wrecking their life because you don’t like their views is doxxing.