Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right: How Indonesia Netizens Use Doxing as a Weapon to Attack Others

June 21, 2022 12:54 pm || By

Author: Zakiah Fadhila
Editor: Anisa Pratita Mantovani

It has always been easy for social media users to find interesting topics to discuss. Because of this, people have been actively using social media as a platform to drop their opinion and eventually also will respond to one’s –including a stranger’s– opinion. Of course, a response to disagreement will be hard to avoid. However, what is harder to avoid is people willing to attack or threaten you once they think you are –or at least, your opinion is– problematic. To humiliate you, instead of focusing on the discussion’s substance, some people put extra effort into uncovering and spreading your personal information without your consent to attack you. This is what people nowadays call Doxing. To some degree, doxing could be legal, especially if it is done to unmask injustice using social media’s available information [1]. However, often enough, this action could endanger someone’s real life. Such as a real threat being sent to one’s address or even ruining one’s whole life –making the problem bigger and messier than before. What makes doxing more dangerous is the absence of law enforcement regarding the matter to protect victims. Research done by found that 1/3 of victims of doxing in the US failed to report attacks they got to the authorities [2]. Meanwhile, in Indonesia, from 2017 to 2020, let alone aware that law enforcement is absent, many victims did not even know their cases would be counted and processed as doxing in the court [3].

            One of the famous doxing cases in Indonesia was when several Eiger’s workers got their privacy jeopardized. In 2021, Eiger sent a letter to Youtuber Dian Widiyanarko, who reviewed Eiger’s eyeglasses. In the letter, Eiger’s HCGA & Legal General Manager, Hendra, objected to the video, saying the video was not properly taken. Even though the letter was addressed to Widiyanarko only and Eiger immediately sent another letter of apology through their official Twitter account, people on the internet still went crazy over the objections. The problem was getting out of control when people exposed the personal information of Eiger’s workers, especially Hendra, whose name was written in the letter. Their full name, domicile, and full-face photo can be seen on the internet. According to SAFEnet Executive Director Damar Juniarto, this action can be considered doxing as they try to find and expose one’s personal information with malicious intentions [4] which enables other people to disseminate the data afterwards.

What happened to individuals that work at Eiger then raised a concern. Suppose social media is a platform where people can drop their opinion with their right to free speech. Shouldn’t people be more aware of doxing as it could happen to them anywhere, anytime? With that in mind, this article raises two questions: How will doxing jeopardize free speech on social media platforms? Second, If free speech invites doxing, should regulations be made to limit it? For example, we can find some speeches that offend particular communities/persons. In the name of revenge, these people will attack back with doxing. In this matter, regulation on free speech will protect netizens from being doxed.

This commentary would like to argue that how often netizens use doxing to attack one another eventually could make journalism and activism in social media vulnerable by not providing a safe space to spread awareness regarding sensitive topics. This is unfortunate for social media as it is also known as hope, providing an effective way to reach more people. Thus, free speech is perhaps in urgent need to be regulated to protect everyone – including people who use free speech to offend particular communities/persons – from being doxxed.

How doxing can potentially lead journalism and activism in Indonesia to vulnerability.

Primarily, doxing is also used against journalists and activists trying to spread awareness through social media. Including Indonesia. According to SAFEnet, the rise of doxing in Indonesia was seen when many journalists and activists were attacked personally in these several years [5]. For example, in 2017, a TopSkor journalist named Zulfikar tweeted about a sensitive topic on Twitter how it is Hong Kong’s right to reject Abdul Somad, an Indonesian Ulema, from coming to the country. Though his statement was logical, it cannot help but invite attacks from the ulema’s adherents. They started to attack him by doxing and sending attempts of persecution. Hashtags such as #BoikotTopSkor became a trending topic in no time. Because of that, TopSkor called Zulfikar to dismiss him. We also shall not forget the famous activist Veronica Koman, who seems to experience doxing more often for actively voicing Papua’s rights. In 2019, user @/digeembok on Twitter tried to dox Koman by exposing where Koman was living and intimidating Koman, saying she had been monitored by the user [6].

This is a severe concern for journalism and activism in Indonesia. Not to mention there is a lack of law protection and enforcement that leave them with self-protection as the only option. Take Zulfikar’s case, for example. One tweet and a call for dismissal from his job waited for him at this door. Not even the company he worked for can help him clarify what the majority of people thought as wrongdoing, nor a law that was never explicitly made to protect people from doxing. Social media has successfully provided a right for people who never knew you existed 5 minutes ago to protest and ruin your whole life career. Let alone Koman, who not only once or twice experienced doxing on social media. The chances of being sent a real threat to her exposed address might be low, but never zero.. 

Though the impacts of doxing seem dangerous, the best thing Indonesia could do to protect its netizens is by giving tips to avoid doxing. Through the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology’s website, netizens are reminded to 1) not share too much personal information on social media as it provides criminal opportunities for perpetrators, 2) set the social media account to private mode so only several people can see what one is doing in social media, 3) use VPN so perpetrators cannot track one’s IP to know the exact location, 4)  beware of email phishing, and 5) some information should not be posted in social media [7]. Nevertheless, of course, these five steps will never be enough. Some people purposely set their accounts to public mode to reach more people. Thus. what kind of law or regulation do we currently need?

An unpopular idea but worth to be discussed:

On the contrary, to some extent, it assumes how regulations on free speech will protect people from being doxed.

Several studies, such as the one done by Yudiana et al., have suggested that Indonesia will have to revise some Articles that regulate cybercrimes, especially regulations which encourage the implication of the right to be forgotten that can be used by the doxing victims [8]. Indeed, a suggestion that needs to be well considered, but that also means it could not be used to prevent doxing from happening. Thus, this commentary would like to submit an unpopular suggestion: To regulate free speech. True, free speech is a right that should be accessible for everyone, but how free speech often could lead to doxing also needs to be considered. In the name of free speech, people on the internet tend to think they have the right to say anything – including offensive comments. This is a misunderstanding caused by a lack of awareness. Later, offensive comments could lead to the potential of doxing. This often happens among celebrities or social media influencers. The famous Rachel Vennya once almost did a doxing to one of their Instagram users who left an unpleasant comment on her account. She held a contest. To whoever can give her the personal information of the user she targeted, one will be given Rp 15.000.0000. In the name of revenge, so that one can also know how it feels to be her, she explained [9].

What Vennya did was almost an act of doxing if she seriously used the information she gained to attack her target. Of course, it was a wrongful act, but since she did it to someone who offended her, people started to think it was a form of well-deserved revenge. Though it seems so horrifying, we should not forget that Vennya’s target has also abused free speech on social media. Thus, perhaps, regulating free speech is in urgent need to be considered too to avoid doxing.


In conclusion, 1) good news is that you can always use social media as your platform as much as you want, 2) bad news is that doxing exists. Both news then gives us so many topics to be discussed. Such as how both could potentially lead journalism and activism in Indonesia to vulnerability and how free speech should be mentioned more to be regulated to avoid doxing. Doxing is a cybercrime that needs to be taken seriously because Indonesia’s netizens tend to use it to attack each other. Even if someone makes a mistake, no matter how bad, doxing should not be done because it will always be out of the problem’s scope. After all, two wrongs don’t make a right.

[1] Doxxing in 2022: An Unexpectedly Widespread Cybersecurity Threat – (2022). Retrieved 7 June 2022, from

[2] Ibid

[3] Yudiana, T. C., Rosadi, S. D., & Priowirjanto, E. S. (2022). The Urgency of Doxing on Social Media Regulation and the Implementation of Right to Be Forgotten on Related Content for the Optimization of Data Privacy Protection in Indonesia. PADJADJARAN JURNAL ILMU HUKUM (JOURNAL OF LAW), 9(1), 24-45.

[4] Dewi, R. (2021). Ramai soal Kasus Eiger dan Mengenal Apa Itu Doxing… Halaman all – Retrieved 7 June 2022, from

[5] Banimal, A., Juniarto, D., & Ningtyas, I. (2021). The Rise and Challenges of Doxing in Indonesia – SAFENET. Retrieved 7 June 2022, from

[6] Ibid

[7] Septiani, D. (2021). Apa itu Doxxing dan Dampaknya pada Privasi Online – BPPTIK. BPPTIK. Retrieved 7 June 2022, from

[8] Banimal, A., Juniarto, D., & Ningtyas, I. (2021). The Rise and Challenges of Doxing in Indonesia – SAFENET. Retrieved 7 June 2022, from

[9]Indonesia, C. (2021). Rachel Vennya Akui Tak Bijak Buka Sayembara Buru Netizen Usil. hiburan. Retrieved 8 June 2022, from