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What are social media giants doing to curb Taliban amid Afghanistan crisis?

WION Web Team
New Delhi, IndiaWritten By: Vyomica BerryUpdated: Aug 18, 2021, 01:03 PM IST

Photograph:(AFP)

Story highlights

The Taliban's rapid takeover of Afghanistan poses a new challenge for big US tech companies on handling content created by a group considered to be terrorists by some world governments.

The Taliban's rapid takeover of Afghanistan poses challenges for multiple major social media and messaging platforms on what and who should be allowed on their platforms.

The companies, which have come under fire from global lawmakers and regulators for their outsized political and economic influence, often depend on state designations or official international recognitions to determine who is allowed on their sites.

These also help determine who might be verified, allowed official state accounts or may receive special treatment for rule-breaking speech due to newsworthiness or public interest loopholes.

However, the differences among the tech companies' stances suggest the approach is not uniform.

Here is what various social media giants are doing after the Taliban seized Kabul, confirming their takeover of power in Afghanistan after a stunningly swift end to the country's 20-year war.

Facebook blocks WhatsApp accounts

WhatsApp accounts linked to the Taliban have been banned after the radical Islamic group seized control of Afghanistan and sought to use the messaging service to help it govern.

"The Taliban is sanctioned as a terrorist organization under US law and we have banned them from our services under our Dangerous Organization policies," a Facebook spokesperson said.

The Facebook move shut down a WhatsApp hotline the Taliban had set up to receive complaints about violence and looting, according to the Financial Times.

Facebook had on Monday said it designates the Taliban a terrorist group and bans it and content supporting it from its platforms.

Twitter

On Twitter Inc, Taliban spokesmen with hundreds of thousands of followers have tweeted updates during the country's takeover.

However, the company has issued a statement saying that the network would review Taliban's content that may violate its rules, specifically against the glorification of violence or platform manipulation.

Youtube

Alphabet Inc’s YouTube said on Tuesday it has a long-held policy of not allowing accounts believed to be operated by the Taliban on its site, as social media companies faced questions about how they would handle the group that fast gained control of Afghanistan.

The video-sharing service relies on governments to define "Foreign Terrorist Organizations" (FTO) to guide the site's enforcement of its rules against violent criminal groups.

The US instead classifies the Taliban as a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist," which freezes the US assets of those blacklisted and bars Americans from working with them.

(With inputs from agencies)