Many customers go to nice lengths to safe their social media accounts — however one TikTok creator is exhibiting those that their profiles aren’t as personal as they appear.
Kristen Sotakoun, 32, is behind a viral TikTok collection dedicated to “consensual doxxing,” wherein she reveals the birthdates of individuals in her feedback part.
Sotakoun isn’t a knowledge privateness professional, neither is she skilled in cybersecurity. She is a restaurant server in Chicago who merely loves puzzles. And that’s how she views every of her consensual doxxing topics — as a sort of logic recreation.
“Any normie can do that,” stated Sotakoun, who goes by notkahnjunior on TikTok.
The concept got here to Sotakoun after she noticed a TikTok creator ask viewers to guess her actual age. She responded with a stitched video — a video a TikTok creator combines one other video on TikTok. Quickly after, a few of Sotakoun’s impressed viewers — believing themselves to be tougher to seek out — challenged her to disclose their ages and birthdates.
She obliged some requests — and constructed her following. In simply over a month, Sotakoun stated, she grew her new account from 36 followers to over 257,000.
“I feel there’s a degree of smugness to everyone once they do remark, like ‘Wait, I genuinely suppose that you simply couldn’t discover me.’ However individuals don’t know what sort of social media cracks they’ve,” she stated. “And sadly, I feel, even being current on the web, at any second in your life, you sadly can have data there.”
Sadly, I feel, even being current on the web, at any second in your life, you sadly can have data there
— Kristen Sotakoun, the TikTok creator behind a collection dedicated to ‘consensual doxxing’
Sotakoun enjoys her new passion — she stated buddies have all the time described her because the “FBI of the group” as a result of she has been capable of assist them discover details about potential Tinder dates or individuals they meet in passing.
Nowadays, since having gone viral, Sotakoun will get quite a lot of requests from individuals to “discover them.” However she primarily picks topics primarily based on accounts that require a extra concerned search course of. Lots of her topics, for instance, cover behind partly anonymized TikTok accounts that lack names, movies or profile footage.
One such topic, Rei Stephen, invited Sotakoun to attempt to discover him in a touch upon one among her consensual doxxing movies.
Stephen had set his TikTok movies to non-public, so Sotakoun wasn’t ready to make use of his content material for clues. His title wasn’t in his profile, and he makes use of completely different usernames throughout social media.
Sotakoun admitted that the search was like enjoying a recreation on “arduous mode,” however she was capable of finding Stephen’s birthdate utilizing his profile image and his public follower checklist. Utilizing the profile of one among Stephen’s followers, she discovered him on Twitter and deduced his birthdate from previous tweets. She stated it took 20 minutes.
Earlier than she made a video about him, Sotakoun reached out on Twitter to verify that she had efficiently recognized Stephen and his birthdate from his TikTok remark. Stephen stated he was “shook” when he noticed her reply to one among his tweets. He requested her about her course of for locating him.
“I used to be sort of hoping she wouldn’t discover me in any respect, however I’m sort of glad that her video confirmed me the weak spots,” Stephen stated.
Whereas Stephen makes use of Tweet Delete, a service that commonly deletes customers’ previous tweets, a few of his previous interactions with buddies remained on Twitter, which Sotakoun used to collect details about him.
Since Sotakoun discovered him, Stephen has deleted some posts and adjusted his profile footage, which was once the identical throughout platforms, so as to add an additional layer of separation between his accounts.
“I all the time knew that nothing is as personal, particularly if I’ve public profiles, however I simply needed to see the lengths somebody needed to undergo to even discover my birthday or something that connects me to my precise title,” he stated in a message.
In a TikTok response to Sotakoun’s video about him, Stephen asserted that “buddies are the weakest hyperlink” in the case of protecting your social media personal. Sotakoun stated that’s the frequent theme amongst hard-to-find individuals on-line.
“It doesn’t actually matter what you’ve posted, as a result of you’ve got a proud mother someplace or you’ve got a pal who loves you or you’ve got people who find themselves not as cautious about web safety as you, you recognize?” Sotakoun stated. “And that’s what I’ll discover. … It’s loopy, as a result of when you simply work together with one thing, work together with any individual, not even have to put in writing something, then that could be a manner that somebody can discover you.”
Even individuals who appear inconceivable to seek out — these with zero private identifiers of their profiles — might be tracked down by their interactions, Sotakoun stated.
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Sotakoun makes use of solely data that’s readily and publicly obtainable. Regardless of hypothesis by viewers that she pays for public data or makes use of laptop packages to seek out individuals, she clarified that she makes use of solely social media and Google. She has been informed that her content material is reaching knowledge privateness boards. On Twitter, lecturers praised her for successfully illustrating gaps in social media privateness.
“I feel the overarching lesson right here is that it’s arduous to have 100% management over your privateness in any context (however particularly social media) due to the flexibility of *different individuals* to disclose details about us. It’s best to know this and plan accordingly,” tweeted Casey Fiesler, an affiliate professor of knowledge sciences on the College of Colorado Boulder. She didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
In the end, Sotakoun stated, she is glad she has discovered a distinct segment she actually enjoys.
In one other life, on a special TikTok account she now not has entry to, she felt backed right into a nook by the content material she was making. Now, she makes movies that align extra together with her pursuits, and she or he is glad that persons are studying extra about their digital footprints utilizing her content material.
“It’s been very cool to have individuals say that I’m entertaining but in addition instructing them one thing,” Sotakoun stated. “I feel that’s just like the dream on TikTok, to be an entertaining academic supply.”