© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Facebook logo is displayed on a mobile phone in this illustration from the image taken on December 2, 2019. REUTERS / Johanna Geron / Illustration
By Elizabeth Culliford
(Reuters) – Facebook (NASDAQ :), Twitter and LinkedIn said this week that they had moved to secure the accounts of Afghan citizens to protect them from being attacked amid the rapid takeover of the country by the Taliban.
Facebook has temporarily removed the ability for people to view or search the friend lists of accounts in Afghanistan, its head of security policy Nathaniel Gleicher tweeted on Thursday.
Gleicher also said that the company had launched a “one-click tool” for users in Afghanistan to lock their accounts, so that people other than their Facebook friends cannot view their posts on the timeline or share their messages. Profile pictures.
Human rights groups have raised concerns that the Taliban may use online platforms to track the digital stories or social connections of Afghans. Amnesty International said this week that thousands of Afghans, including academics, journalists and human rights defenders, were at serious risk of retaliation from the Taliban.
The former captain of the Afghan women’s soccer team has also urged the players to remove social media and erase their public identities.
Twitter Inc (NYSE 🙂 said it was in contact with civil society partners to support groups across the country and was working with the Internet Archive to expedite direct requests to remove archived tweets.
He said that if people were unable to access accounts containing information that could put them at risk, such as direct messages or followers, the company could temporarily suspend the accounts until users regain access and can remove their content.
Twitter also said it was proactively monitoring accounts affiliated with government organizations and may temporarily suspend accounts pending additional information to confirm their identity. A LinkedIn spokesperson said the Microsoft-owned professional networking site had temporarily hidden its users’ connections in Afghanistan so that other users couldn’t see them.
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