Lock your accounts, redact your Afghanistan pictures
The Taliban will be looking for the people in those pictures
As friends scramble to get their interpreters and their families and anyone else who is in danger from the Taliban, I have an important message to everyone who has been over there, whether in a military or a civilian role — PLEASE LOCK DOWN AND/OR REDACT YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS.
If you’ve been posting a lot about the people who are in danger, please know that anyone can see a public post. The Taliban has a lot on its mind right now, but they can absolutely use social media, they are using it, and we must all err on the side of caution.
Kyle is absolutely correct with this take he posted on Insta:
Don’t make the Taliban’s job easier. Please know that reverse image search and facial recognition technology is evolving quickly — yes, even a Taliban member can use Yandex image search. We underestimate these people at a great risk. That’s besides the fact that there will be a lot of snitching going on as people seek to divert violence away from themselves. “Oh, my neighbor worked with the Americans, here’s a pic!” It will happen over and over again, I guarantee it.
Note that photo BACKGROUNDS can absolutely be geolocated with someone with enough time on their hands, as I keep saying over and over again. This goes for both outdoor and interior shots.
And don’t rush to fall for the “gentler, kinder” Taliban line either. Don’t let it lull you into a state of complacency with regard to your digital footprints, at the very least. They made similar promises in the 1990s. Then they started murdering people, castrating the men before they died, and, well, doing everything else they did.
Let’s be realistic here & let’s try to protect people as much as we can.
~UPD~ If you’re struggling with what to purge, just make your accounts private first, and then go about redacting in an orderly fashion. Stress and panic cause us to miss crucial elements of our digital footprints. You want to be methodical. Let your friends know what you’re doing too.