Social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, have said they will start to take steps to protect users in Afghanistan from being targeted by the Taliban.
After the rapid takeover of the country, human rights groups have expressed fears that the Tablian could use online platforms to track Afghans’ social connections and online histories.
Last week, Amnesty International warned that thousands of citizens could be in danger. This includes human rights activists, academics, journalists, and other influential people.
In the last decade, the Taliban has shown that it’s willing to use the vast amount of data stored online. In 2016, insurgents killed 12 passengers after using biometric data to cross-check fingerprints and find security force workers.
Additionally, there are reports that the Talian have previously used Facebook data to identify people that have relationships with the US military or with NGOs.
What are social media platforms planning to do?
To try and protect users as much as possible, a number of major social media platforms have announced new temporary security measures.
Facebook’s security policy head Nathaniel Gleicher said in a tweet that the platform has now removed the ability for people to view or search the friends’ lists of accounts in Afghanistan.
As well as this, the company has launched a “one-click tool” for users in Afghanistan to lock down their accounts so people can’t see or share their timeline posts or profile pictures unless they’re on their friends’ list.
Twitter says it’s currently monitoring accounts affiliated with government organizations and might temporarily suspend accounts pending additional information to confirm their identity.
The company said it’s also in touch with partners to provide support to groups trying to remove archived tweets that put users in danger. It also said that it can temporarily suspend accounts if users are unable to access them but need to delete content.