These are times when security is one of the most important things for those involved in the Ukraine-Russian conflict. For Ukrainians, uncovering their location and other important information can be lethal. The same goes for Russians who want to voice their disapproval of the ongoing war. And with Twitter and Facebook banned in Russia, more and more people are finding alternatives to communicate with the world. One of their resorts is Clubhouse. Now, the social audio app is taking steps to protect its users by introducing the protected profile option.
“We’re grateful we’ve become a meeting place for people around the world to connect during this time, but we also know that times of conflict and upheaval make it increasingly important to be mindful of your presence online and what you share,” said Clubhouse in its blog post.
Users can start by visiting the settings and toggling on the protected profile. Enabling it will let you scan the request of people who want to follow you. You can decide whether you would approve them or not. Approving other users to follow you means they are the only ones who can see the rooms, clubs, and replays on your profile. This will also make you less visible to the app, and those you haven’t approved will not see when you’re online. Clubhouse also said it won’t recommend that people you don’t know follow you. And for maximum security, Clubhouse pronounced that users have the choice to choose who to block.
Despite the new feature introduced, however, Clubhouse said that the online world is still a dangerous place to voice out your thoughts. “Clubhouse community members around the world show us how powerful audio can be to raise awareness of conflict, but any time you speak out online or off there are risks,” said the company. “… In casual conversations or long conversations we sometimes let our guard down and make comments about the coffee shop we’re next to, the city we’re in, our brother’s name, our birthday and more. Remember that voluntarily disclosing information about your location, surroundings, and personal life may increase the odds of others determining where or who you are.”
Additionally, Clubhouse mentioned that although the Replay feature has been turned off for those in Ukraine, other users can record and share your content. “Audio can be recorded – we have turned our Replay feature off by default for all users in Ukraine (the feature was already off by default for Russia),” it explained. “If you want to use this feature, don’t forget that the conversation will then live on for others to listen to. Even with Replays off it is important to remember that we cannot control the actions of users on the platform, who may seek to use third party apps or devices to record, store, or share content or communication without other users’ prior consent.”
In the end, Clubhouse said that though voices can be a powerful tool for social change and raising awareness, they can also be used against you due to their distinctive characters, which can be utilized as your very own “identifier.” With this, Clubhouse encouraged its users to be more mindful of their actions online.