Friday 20 August 2021 11:09 am

Facebook secures Afghan accounts as Taliban cements takeover

Facebook has brought in new safety measures in response to concerns that the Taliban, who have taken over Afghanistan this week, could use social media to target and track individuals, according to reports.

The social media giant has temporarily removed the ability for people to see or search the friends lists of accounts based in Afghanistan, according to tweets by security policy head at Facebook Nathaniel Gleicher on Thursday.

Gleicher tweeted that the tech company had launched a “one-click tool” for its users in Afghanistan to quickly be able to lock down their account.

“When their profile is locked, people who aren’t their friends can’t download or share their profile photo or see posts on their timeline,” Gleicher wrote.

He added that for Instagram, which is owned by Facebook: “we’re rolling out pop-up alerts in Afghanistan with specific steps on how to protect your account”.

The news follows concerns voiced by human rights groups that the Taliban could use digital platforms to track Afghans’ online histories and connections.

Other tech giants including Twitter and LinkedIn also announced new security measures this week aimed at users in Afghanistan.

A LinkedIn spokesperson said the connections of its users in Afghanistan would be temporarily hidden from other users, according to the Reuters report.

Facebook earlier this week said it would continue to ban Taliban content from its platforms because it considers the group to be a terrorist organisation.