At least 11 Huffington Post reporters were doxed and threatened online by the alt-right in May 2018 after reporter Luke O’Brien produced a story that identified the Twitter account of social media user @AmyMek, suspected of spreading hate speech. Doxing is when personal information, such as work or home address and telephone numbers are distributed on the web.
O’Brien said he received thousands of threatening and harassing tweets following the article. The account @AmyMek, promoted this thread below, encouraging her followers to go after the HuffPost:
In an ironic twist, Twitter suspended the reporter’s account rather than the account of the user breaking community standards.
What Journalists and Management Can Do
- Engage the company’s social media team to do more monitoring of threatening social media users and to engage corporate security, if necessary.
- Close off commenting on virulent comment threads.
- Don’t archive articles that may retrigger an attack on the journalist/writer/photographer.
- Block abusive messages or re-route away from targeted journalist(s).