Facebook says it has added a number of security features to help people in Afghanistan take control of their accounts amid concerns about retaliation from the Taliban.
In a series of tweets late Thursday, Facebook’s head of security said the company had temporarily disabled the ability to view and search friend lists of Facebook accounts in Afghanistan. He also said the platform, which is seeing a surge in new Taliban accounts despite the ban on the group, has provided a tool to help Afghans quickly lock their accounts if they fear being targeted. target.
The unprecedented measures target one of Facebook’s most fundamental features: the friends list. They represent a candid acknowledgment from the company, which has long advertised its ability to connect the world, about the risks of having personal information on social media.
Since the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan this week, their promises of amnesty and reconciliation have been marred by reports that their troops are engaging in retaliatory attacks and coercion. suppress protests.
In the days since the militants took over cities, including the capital, Kabul, many Afghans have closed their social media accounts and deleted their messages out of concern that their digital footprints could be harmful. could make them a target of former insurgents. In the past, the Taliban have suffered brutal retributions against Afghans with ties to the country’s former government or Western countries like the United States.
The Taliban however have become sophisticated social media users. During the summer offensive that propelled them to power, they used social media platforms to spread their message.
Facebook’s head of privacy, Nathaniel Gleicher, also urged people with friends in Afghanistan to consider tightening their own privacy settings.
The social media’s strict bans on the Taliban have pushed many of its most influential officials and voices onto Twitter. However, the platform has struggled to remove all accounts. Dozens of new ones have popped up on the site in recent days, posing the difficult question of how to regulate a group that currently controls Afghanistan.