Currently, Afghanistan is still experiencing a fair amount of chaos and uncertainty that’s come in the wake of the Taliban overtaking the city of Kabul, overthrowing the previous government, and claiming power for itself. In order to protect users who may find themselves in trouble with the new regime thanks to their online profiles, Clubhouse has edited thousands of Afghan users accounts to keep them inconspicuous.
Clubhouse cleans house
As of earlier this week, thousands of the app’s users in Afghanistan have effectively had their profiles wiped. The social audio app has erased their bios and profile pictures, and has also made it harder to find these accounts through the search tab.
— Zaki Daryabi (@ZDaryabi) August 19, 2021
A message from Clubhouse to affected users explains that it noticed they hadn’t been active recently (to ensure account privacy or delete any photos or information the Taliban might consider incriminating), and so had made their accounts harder to find and deleted their bios and profile pictures, for safety. This isn’t permanent, and can be reversed if a user wishes.
According to The Verge, Clubhouse has also told its Afghan users that they can use pseudonyms rather than their real names to protect themselves. Further, users’ follower counts aren’t affected by any of the platform’s safety measures.
Any proactive steps taken by Clubhouse to protect users is commendable. Facebook recently did something similar, hiding Afghan users’ friends lists, locking down accounts so that only friends can see their details, and pushing a pop-up notification on Instagram to show users how to better protect their accounts.