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Have you ever sent a message to someone online only for them to share it around? Maybe they've only shared it without another person, or sometimes even the whole Internet? Any situation like that is called outing, also known as doxing; it's not okay, and it can hurt.

Outing can involve a public display of your message, photos, or videos; forwarding your message to others either in print, social media, or e-mail; or even just someone reading the message on a phone that isn't theirs.

How do you deal with outing if it has happened or is happening to you?

  • Ask the person who shared the information to remove it from where they have shared it online.

  • Contact online platforms where the information was shared. Social media platforms have a reporting process where you can contact their support services if you've run into trouble. When private information is shared on these platforms, you can let them know it wasn't supposed to be shared and you'd like it removed.

  • Keep a copy of the evidence. Take screenshots or save messages when your message was posted or sent on. Saving information like this helps your case when you report the issue or approach the people who have done the wrong thing.

  • Do your best to stay away from where the information is posted. It can be hard to stop reading any comments that may have been made, but it will only make you more upset.

  • Make sure you get as much help and support you need to deal with the fact your message and content are now public. This is important because there often isn't much you can do to entirely remove the content from all platforms.

If you or someone you know is at risk or immediate harm, call 000. If you are having thoughts about self-harm or suicide, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.


The Cyber Helpine (2020). Dealing with Outing.

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