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Doxxing Series

Gamergate and Anti Gamergate Doxxing: A Recap 

Whether you’re anti-GamerGate or in support of it – or if you know nothing about it – it led to some of the most famous doxxing incidents in popular culture.

In this guide, we’ll review what happened and share a few tips on how you can avoid being a victim of doxxing yourself. 

What Is GamerGate?

GamerGate was a campaign started in 2014 by a group of mostly anonymous gamers who wanted to lobby the gaming news industry to have better ethical standards. 

They alleged that the industry was rife with censorship and that game developers routinely made agreements with news outlets for more favorable coverage. They also believed that the industry tended to carry a message of social justice and feminism that had no objective place in gaming coverage. 

With this loose framework of ideals, GamerGate participants reached out to news media outlets to appeal to them to be more transparent, exclude social justice components as a qualifier for a good game, and generally de-politicize the industry. 

GamerGate led to both harassment and doxxing for several people, with a focus on women who criticized the gaming industry. The victims received sexually violent messages and threats in their inboxes and on Twitter, while the companies they worked for were pressured with boycotts. 

What Is Anti-GamerGate?

Due to the extreme methods utilized by GamerGate advocates, a reactionary movement arose in response: Anti-GamerGate. 

Those involved in the backlash against GamerGate viewed GamerGate as an attempt by anti-feminists to drive women out of the industry using baseless claims of ethics violations. They also were unhappy about GamerGate’s effort to reduce the presence of non-stereotypical or female game characters in games. 

Anti-GamerGate focused on the harassing and often violent tone GamerGate users utilized as emblematic of the problem the group represented.

X/Twitter post about not being able to remember which side was gamergate and which side was anti gamergate

Anti-GamerGate Doxxing 

Both individuals involved in GamerGate and those against it experienced doxxing. Most of the victims, however, were those on the Anti-GamerGate side of the debate.

Among the first targeted by GamerGate was Zoe Quinn, the designer of a game believed to have started the movement due to its focus on addressing depression. The game itself may have gone unnoticed if not for Quinn’s ex-boyfriend, who wrote about her in unsavory terms on the game’s Steam page. Quinn was soon doxxed, with bad actors even hacking into her voicemail and her Wikipedia page to announce she was dead. 

Felicia Day, the head writer of the TV series The Guild, was another famous target of GamerGate. Within minutes of posting her concerns about the movement, someone posted her home address and email on her account – exactly as she feared

Also among the victims of GamerGate was Feminist Frequency (a YouTube series) producer Anita Sarkeesian. She received violent threats of rape and murder on Twitter, in conjunction with her home address, after speaking out against the group. The effect of the doxxing was enough that she and her family were forced to leave their homes

X/Twitter post from Feminist Frequency showing the threatening and doxxing messages she received

Game developer Brianna Wu was similarly doxxed when her home address was published on 8Chan. The threats she received were violent and harassing enough that she also had to flee her home

GamerGate Doxxing 

GamerGaters weren’t immune from being doxxed for their involvement in the movement (including Brianna Wu’s attacker), although the media did not give as much coverage to these incidents. 

This was best illustrated by the Medium user Best Mom Eva. A regular visitor to 4Chan and 8Chan, she noted that anytime she defended GamerGaters for their non-harassing activities, she was attacked by Anti-GamerGaters, who accused her of not being a woman, among other claims. 

Best Mom Eva created a fake scenario that resulted in Anti-GamerGaters trying to doxx her, demonstrating that there were bad actors on both sides.

How Does Doxxing Happen? 

Doxxing usually involves someone tracking you online and piecing together bits of information you’ve shared, such as on forums or social media. Public records and data brokers can also be a primary source of doxxing content. 

Data brokers are companies that collect personal information about people and sell it as packaged profiles to anyone – including bad actors – willing to pay a small fee. 

You can opt out of data brokers (learn how in our data broker opt-out guides), but be aware that you’ll need to opt out of each one – and there are hundreds of them. Plus, you’ll need to do so continuously as brokers relist your profile as soon as they find more data about you. 

Alternatively, subscribe to a data broker removal service such as DeleteMe – our privacy experts will opt you out of these sites on your behalf. 

Becoming Undoxxable

To avoid doxxing, your best bet is to actively work to shrink your online footprint by assessing where your information is showing up online and taking steps to remove it or make it private. 

You can get started by doxxing yourself (find out how in our guide to self-doxxing and use our list of self-doxxing tools).

Once you’ve doxxed yourself, you’ll likely find that you’ll need to take several steps toward becoming undoxxable – generally including some of the following actions:

  • Changing your social media privacy settings from public to private.
  • Changing and using different usernames and passwords on all of your online accounts.
  • Opting out of data brokers.
  • Avoiding sharing any personal information in public spaces on the internet. 
  • Setting up Google Alerts for your personal information to be alerted when your data appears online. 

For an in-depth look at how to become undoxxable, read our guide on how to prevent doxxing

Laura Martisiute is DeleteMe’s content marketing specialist. Her job is to help DeleteMe communicate vital privacy information to the people that need it. Since joining DeleteMe in 2020, Laura h…

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