The first mass use of this tactic occurred during Hong Kong’s massive 2019 democracy protests, when pro-Beijing Telegram channels identified demonstrators and sent their information to the authorities. Hundreds of protesters were sentenced to custodial sentences for their role in the demonstrations. But with the city split along “yellow” (pro-protests) and “blue” (pro-police) lines, channels were also set up to dox police officers and their families. In November 2020, a telecom company employee was jailed for two years after doxing police and government employees over Telegram. Since then, Telegram doxing appears to be spreading to new countries. In Iraq, militia groups and their supporters have become adept at using Telegram to source information about opponents, such as leaders of civil society groups, which they then broadcast on channels with tens of thousands of followers. Sometimes, bounties are offered for information, according to Hayder Hamzoz, founder of the Iraqi Network for Social Media, an organization that tracks social media use in the country. Often, these come with direct or implicit threats of violence. Targets have faced harassment and violence, and some have had to flee their homes, Hamzoz says.
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