Thursday, May 19, 2022

Clubhouse introduces ‘protected profiles’ in response to high-risk users in Ukraine and Russia

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Invitation-only social audio platform Clubhouse allows users to restrict who can see their full profile due to increased security risks associated with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a company said. † Users can now change their profile settings to ‘protected’, allowing only pre-approved followers to view the rooms and clubs they’ve visited, as well as replays. Unapproved followers cannot see when a user is online. Clubhouse will also not recommend protected profile holders to other users they do not know.

“We are grateful that during this time we have become a meeting place for people around the world to connect with each other, but we also know that times of conflict and unrest make it increasingly important to be aware of your presence online and what you share,” the platform wrote in its post.

The nearly two-year-old platform has been slow to roll out moderation and security features to its many users, despite regular cases of harassment and abuse on the app. A number of Clubhouse users have experienced targeted harassment on the platform, including: advise on the Covid-19 pandemic, and † It is also very difficult to remain anonymous on the platform. Clubhouse requires a phone number to join, and (unless you unsubscribe) will recommend another clubhouse in your phone’s contact list. It also requires that you have your real first and last name to create a profile.

Clubhouse remains one of the few western technology companies that , or is banned in Russia. For many anti-war Russians, Clubhouse remains one of the few viable eviction options to the outside world. Meanwhile, many users of have flocked to Clubhouse to discuss the ongoing invasion. Given the lack of anonymity of the app, it is likely that such users will need an extra security measure.

But when it comes to privacy, Clubhouse only offers the bare minimum, even with protected profiles. Users can still see the names, usernames, bios and all associated social media on protected profiles. The platform has also disabled the “Replay” feature for all users in Ukraine, which means that conversations will no longer be recorded by default. In addition, Clubhouse users should exercise good judgment when it comes to expressing opinions that could get them into trouble with their government or disclosing personal information.

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