Facebook Hide Friend Lists to Protect Users in Afghanistan

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Facebook said it added a few security features to help people in Afghanistan control their accounts as fears of retaliation from the Taliban grew.

In a series of tweets late Thursday, Facebook’s head of security said the company has temporarily disabled the ability to view and search friend lists for Facebook accounts in Afghanistan. He also said that the platform has seen the proliferation of new Taliban accounts. despite the group banprovided a tool to help Afghans quickly lock their accounts if they feared being targeted.

The unprecedented measures target one of the most fundamental Facebook features: the friend list. They represent a candid statement from the company, which has long touted its ability to connect the world, on the risks of owning personal information on social networks.

Since the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan this week, promises of amnesty and reconciliation have been undermined by reports of military intervention. retaliatory attacks and forcibly suppressing protests.

Since militants took over cities, including the capital, Kabul, many Afghans have shut down their social media accounts and deleted their messages, fearing that their digital footprints could make them targets of former rebels. In the past, the Taliban have taken brutal revenge against Afghans who have ties to the country’s former government or Western countries such as the United States.

Yet the Taliban have become sophisticated users of social media. They used social media platforms to spread their message during the summer offensive that brought them to power.

Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of security, also urged people with friends in Afghanistan to consider tightening their own privacy settings.

The social network’s strict bans on the Taliban have pushed many of its most influential voices and officials to Twitter. Still, the platform struggled to keep all accounts out. Dozens of new The news that has surfaced on the site in recent days presents the company with the difficult question of how to organize a group that currently controls Afghanistan.

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