Meta Will Not Allow Sharing Private Home Addresses

According to a recent development, Meta on Sunday followed an Oversight Board’s recommendation to remove an exception that allowed users to share a person’s private residential address so long as it’s publicly accessible.

Last year, Meta had asked the Oversight Board to assess and remark on the platform’s methods of handling private residential information. Board’s response came a year later in February, calling on Meta to strengthen its policies regarding the sharing of private home addresses over concerns of doxxing.

For those unaware, doxxing is the act of disclosing a person’s name, phone number, email address, or home address online with the purpose of harassing them.

Although Facebook and Instagram already have rules set in place that forbid users from sharing someone’s home address, the Meta-owned platform currently takes no action against posts containing publicly available addresses. But the company promises to put an end to this exception by the end of the year.

In a statement, Meta said:

As the board notes in this recommendation, removing the exception for ‘publicly available’ private residential information may limit the availability of this information on Facebook and Instagram when it is still publicly available elsewhere. However, we recognize that implementing this recommendation can strengthen privacy protections on our platforms.

Meta will continue to let users post their own addresses, without following the Board’s recommendation to let other users reshare them, arguing that “it’s often impossible to know whether a resident has consented to allow another person to share their private address.”

Furthermore, the Board also suggested creating a separate channel to handle reports of doxxing, but Meta declined to take any action. Meta responded to this by sharing that the company is already actively working on new channels for users to get support. In addition to this, it has also partnered with over 850 organizations, that victims can contact to get help.

Meta’s planned policy changes, particularly its decision to close off the residential address exception, should add an additional layer of protection for victims of doxxing.

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