de / en


17:30 Uhr - 20:00 Uhr | Weizenbaum-Institut, Hardenbergstraße 32, 10623 Berlin

Fury or Fright? Doxing and its Effects on Victims’ Civic Participation

Doxing is the malicious disclosure of personal information to influence societal and political discourses. This has serious consequences for the victims. Since there are few studies on the perspective of the victims, Jason Thatcher presents his study, which takes this perspective into account.

Doxing, the malicious disclosure of personal information, has emerged globally as a means to influence sociopolitical discourse by targeting individuals for their viewpoints or affiliations regarding specific issues. Although issue-based doxing inflicts severe consequences on victims, including social isolation and significant mental health strain, research on the doxees’ perspective remains scarce.

This study integrates psychological contract theory with affective events theory to examine doxees’ affective and behavioral responses to being doxed. Specifically, it investigates how doxing is perceived as a breach of the implicit social contract between citizens and society, evokes fear and anger, and subsequently affects doxees’ civic participation. Using an online vignette experiment in the context of U.S. school boards, it examines in-person citizen engagement and online discursive participation as critical outcome variables across physical and cyber domains. Furthermore, the study assesses the role of doxees’ convictions about the target issue in moderating the impact of doxing.

The findings advance research on the societal effects of adversarial online behavior in three significant ways:

  1. by shifting the focus to the victim’s perspective and exploring how fear and anger affect doxees’ civic participation,
  2. by extending previous literature to investigate the cross-domain effects of online adversarial behavior,
  3. and by revealing that only individuals with strong convictions tend to sustain active civic participation in the face of doxing-like scrutiny, which highlights how doxing intensifies ideological polarization. The work has timely implications for online platforms and policymakers. 

Dr. Jason Bennett Thatcher holds the Tandean Rustandy Esteemed Professorship at the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He is also a Full Professor of Management Science at the Alliance Manchester Business School at the University of Manchester and an Honorary Professor at the University of Nottingham. He has also held visiting appointments at the Information Technology University-Copenhagen, the Technical University of Munich (TUM), the University of Augsburg, and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Please register here for free participation in the event.