The social media giant said on Thursday that it is implementing new measures to protect vulnerable users in Afghanistan following the Taliban’s takeover of the country. Facebook is working hard to protect its users and created several new features. One of them allows users to lock down their profiles with one click. As a result, people won’t be able to download their profile pictures. They also won’t be able to see posts from users in Afghanistan.
The company’s head of security policy posted a series of tweets laying out Facebook’s plans. Nathaniel Gleicher said Facebook is rolling out pop-alerts for Instagram users in Afghanistan to protect their accounts. The social media giant is also removing the ability for users to view and search the friends list of Facebook accounts in the country to protect people from becoming targets.
Information provided by activists, journalists, and civil society groups helped the company to create new tools. Nathaniel Gleicher also mentioned that Facebook has put together a special operations center to respond to new threats as they arise. The company understands that situation in Afghanistan is changing on a regular basis, so it is ready to take additional steps to protect local users.
Clubhouse, Facebook, and Afghanistan
The Taliban conquered the country after U.S. President Joe Biden followed through on a promise to withdraw troops and put and an end to a 20-year war. The U.S. is trying to evacuate people, with less than two weeks before a self-imposed deadline to exit Afghanistan.
Many people tried to delete photos from their social media accounts that could show a connection to the West. Apart from Facebook, other social media platforms are also trying to protect their users in Afghanistan. For instance, social audio app Clubhouse joined other social platforms in taking steps to protect users. Earlier this week, it reset tens of thousands of its Afghan users’ bios as well as photos and made their accounts more difficult to discover in search.
The actions did not affect the users’ followers and they have the ability to reverse all changes. It also reminded its users in Afghanistan that it does allow pseudonyms for human rights or safety purposes. The social media platform consulted with free expression and violent extremism experts to help craft its approach.