Wired reported on Friday, 10 January of a Facebook bug that exposed the identities of anonymous Facebook Page administrators. The glitch, that has since been patched was accessible for at least two days.
Word of the bug spread to the internet message board 4chan where users started posting screenshots of the edit history of Facebook Pages, which revealed the identities of the users, accidentally doxing them.
According to Wikipedia, doxing or doxxing “is the Internet-based practice of researching and broadcasting private or identifying information about an individual or organization.”
Doxxing is illegal in the United States, especially when it intentionally damages someone’s reputation or puts them in danger. Many EU countries also consider doxxing illegal, especially if the information was private or difficult to obtain and it violated the individual’s privacy and security.
Screenshots that circulated on social media included admins of street artist Banksy, Vladimir Putin, Hillary Clinton, Justin Trudeau, Anonymous, Snoop Dogg and the climate activist Greta Thunberg. She was announced at Time‘s Person Of The Year 2019.
What we can glean from these revelations are quite revealing. Greta’s father, Svante Thunberg posts on her behalf.
Interestingly, Adarsh Prathap also posts on her behalf. He is a delegate to the UN Climate Change Secretariat.
Individuals who run sensitive pages may find their lives in danger having their real identities revealed. Instead, they could use fake Facebook accounts to conceal their real identity. This likely goes against Facebook’s terms of service.
Living in a digital age, we never know what lurks behind that shiny profile.