The abrupt Taliban take over in Afghanistan has forced social media introduce new rules meant to protect users in the country from being harassed. Amnesty International has said thousands of Afghans, including academics, journalists civil society activists and women human rights defenders, are at serious risk of Taliban reprisals.
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn all announced that they have taken action to protect Afghan citizens’ accounts from being misused by the new rulers.
Facebook appointed a “dedicated team of Afghanistan experts, who are native Dari and Pashto speakers and have knowledge of local context” to monitor “emerging issues.”
Facebook said it is keeping existing ban on content that promotes the Afghan Taliban in place, a spokesperson told US website thehill.com that also reports YouTube has similar ban on Afghan Taliban accounts.
“The Taliban is sanctioned as a terrorist organization under US law and we have banned them from our services under our Dangerous Organisation policies. This means we remove accounts maintained by or on behalf of the Taliban and prohibit praise, support, and representation of them,” a Facebook spokesperson told the BBC.
Facebook security policy head Nathaniel Gleicher tweeted that the company has removed the ability to view or search the friends lists of accounts in Afghanistan. Afghani users can with a “one-click-.tool” lock their accounts blocking all information for those who are not the account holder´s Facebook friends.
On Facebook-owned Instagram “we’re rolling out pop-up alerts in Afghanistan with specific steps on how to protect your account”, he wrote.
LinkedIn said it has temporarily hidden Afghanistan users’ connections so other users would not be able to see them.
Twitter said it is working with the Internet Archive to remove archived tweets for those who request it and that it could also suspend accounts for users who think they have content that could harm them.