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posted by janrinok on Thursday September 22, @06:32AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Telegram Has a Serious Doxing Problem:

Nyein Oo rose to prominence in 2020, posting memes and gossip about Burmese celebrities on Facebook to an audience that grew to several hundred thousand people in Myanmar by early 2021. Then, after the country's military seized power that February, he lurched rightwards, becoming a full-blooded supporter of the junta, which has killed more than 1,500 people and arrested thousands more in bloody crackdowns.

He was soon banned from Facebook for violating its terms of service, so he moved to Telegram, the encrypted messaging app and social sharing platform. There, he posted messages of support for the military, graphic pictures of murdered civilians, and doctored pornographic images purporting to be female opposition figures. Often, these were cross-posted in other channels run by a network of pro-junta influencers, reaching tens of thousands of users.

This year, Han Nyein Oo moved on to direct threats. Opponents of the junta planned to mark the anniversary of the coup on February 1 with a "silent strike," closing businesses and staying home to leave the streets abandoned. On his Telegram channel, Han Nyein Oo raged, asking his followers to send him photos of shops and businesses that were planning to shut. They obliged, and he began posting the images and addresses to his 100,000 followers. Dozens of premises were raided by police. Han Nyein Oo claimed credit. He did not respond to a request to comment.

"That was the start of the doxing campaign," says Wai Phyo Myint, a Burmese digital rights activist. "Since then there's been an escalation."

Over the past eight months, Han Nyein Oo's Telegram channels, and those of other pro-coup figures, including self-defined journalist Thazin Oo and influencers Kyaw Swar and Sergeant Phoe Si, have doxed hundreds of people that they accuse of siding with the resistance movement, from high-profile celebrities to small business owners and students. Dozens have since been arrested or been killed in vigilante violence.

Han Nyein Oo's channel was taken down in March after it was reported for breaching Telegram's rules on disseminating pornography, but within days he had started another. It now has more than 70,000 followers.

[...] Experts in social media moderation who have studied Telegram told WIRED that they doubt the company is willing to or capable of systematically addressing its doxing problem. They said that the company, which is thought to employ only a few dozen people worldwide, discloses very little about its corporate structure and publicly names only a handful of its employees. But it has dramatically outgrown its infrastructure. Unlike other platforms, which employ in-house and outsourced moderators (and still struggle to tackle issues of disinformation and harmful content), Telegram has a philosophical, as well as a practical resistance to moderation.

"It's not just a failure of the platform," says Aliaksandr Herasimenka, a postdoctoral researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute. "It's a deliberate stance."


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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by MostCynical on Thursday September 22, @07:43AM (3 children)

    by MostCynical (2589) on Thursday September 22, @07:43AM (#1272951) Journal

    TelegramThe Internet Has a Serious Doxing Problem

    whack-a-mole is all we can apparently do..

    Is the problem the doxxing, or is the problem the vigilante behaviour (with, or without involvement of police/armed forces)?

    --
    "I guess once you start doubting, there's no end to it." -Batou, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex
    • (Score: 5, Touché) by maxwell demon on Thursday September 22, @08:14AM

      by maxwell demon (1608) Subscriber Badge on Thursday September 22, @08:14AM (#1272954) Journal

      Is the problem the doxxing, or is the problem the vigilante behaviour (with, or without involvement of police/armed forces)?

      What about both?

      --
      The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 22, @09:14AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 22, @09:14AM (#1272959)

      The problem is that there will always be relatively uncensored platforms for communication over the Internet. Telegram lets you share images and videos, but all you really need to post dox is text. It is impossible to squash every text chat room for killing rebels that pops up.

      • (Score: 5, Touché) by HammeredGlass on Thursday September 22, @03:00PM

        by HammeredGlass (12241) on Thursday September 22, @03:00PM (#1272992)

        "there will always be relatively uncensored platforms for communication over the Internet"

        I sincerely hope so, and I wish great misfortune upon anyone who would try to stomp them all out of existence.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by arcade on Thursday September 22, @10:46AM (1 child)

    by arcade (8404) on Thursday September 22, @10:46AM (#1272964)

    This is not a problem with Telegram, or 'the medium'. This is a problem with people. The solution should never be to apply censorship into the fabric of society, but discourage this kind of behavior through other means.

    • (Score: 2) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Friday September 23, @06:32AM

      by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Friday September 23, @06:32AM (#1273108)

      discourage this kind of behavior through other means.

      That's called "morals". People without any tell on other people. Decent people strive to behave decently regardless of the venue.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Thursday September 22, @12:42PM (2 children)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Thursday September 22, @12:42PM (#1272975)

    Also known as denunciation or informing in other times, when the recipients were the Gestapo, the Stasi or the KGB. Just use the existing terms for it: no need to invent another one and dilute the ugliness of it.

    • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Thursday September 22, @02:21PM (1 child)

      by Freeman (732) on Thursday September 22, @02:21PM (#1272985) Journal

      Doxxing specifically refers to outing someone's identity online. As far as I can tell this came about, because competitive gamers can be vengeful and spiteful. They weren't denouncing or informing on someone, per se. They were revealing someone's identity in the hopes that someone would do something bad to them. Usually coupled with a SWATTing attempt.

      --
      Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 22, @03:54PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 22, @03:54PM (#1273006)

        Doxing. One X. It's a competitive sport now.

  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 22, @04:10PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 22, @04:10PM (#1273010)

    When libsoftiktok got doxed or some rando's videos gets the twatters calling up their job it's a celebration. Free speech isn't free of consequences.

    But when it's someone we don't like, i.e Andy Ngo putting up arrest photos of antifa people or the junta photographing protesters, doxing is of course bad.

    Our heros might be put in danger by a mob of crazies!

    Likewise, kiwi farms posting public information from our guys is a federal offense but news organizations doing that to our enemies is freedom of the press. You may not have been a public figure before but you sure as hell are one now. What is truth anyway?

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