Vigilante justice has a long ugly history in America. Civilians have at times taken “justice” into their own hands—as in our egregious history of Black people being murdered by white lynch mobs. More recently, such groups have turned up with ill intent, such as anti-immigration groups like the Minutemen Militia, who have mounted “border patrols” at various parts of the U.S./ Mexico border, and those who proclaim to stand as a counter-force to Nazis and fascism, such as Antifa, known for dressing in all black and, recently, fending off torch-wielding Nazis in Charlottesville.
As the world has gone digital, vigilante justice has made its way to the Internet, that unbounded vastness of cyberspace that lends itself to individual justice at its best and harmful trolling at its worst. A newer form of Internet justice seeking getting lots of attention lately is known as doxxing (also spelled doxing) a term The Atlantic claims was first used by computer hackers in the 1990s as a “simple shorthand of the word documents.” “Documents” can now mean anything from a social media post about your political leanings to a picture someone snapped of you at a protest.