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Facebook and Twitter will continue to regulate Taliban-related content with help from Afghan experts: Report

In light of the new developments in Afghanistan, Facebook revealed that its ban on Taliban content extends to all its platforms including WhatsApp while Youtube is taking a similar approach. 

Social media giants Twitter and Facebook have announced that they will continue to regulate Taliban-related content on their respective platforms, according to a BBC report, While Facebook has completely banned Taliban-related content on its platform, Twitter said that it will continue to enforce its rules on content concerning Afghanistan and review posts that glorify violence and violate its regulations.  

The Taliban is an Islamist fundamentalist group that was ousted by US armed forces in 2001. But, with the withdrawal of US forces this week, the Taliban has reportedly taken control over large parts of Afghanistan including the capital, Kabul. The rise of the Taliban in the country has raised huge concerns about minorities and women’s rights.

For years, the Taliban has used social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to spread its message. Twitter was constantly being used by the Taliban to update its followers on new developments in the country. Social media platforms continuing to take actions against the Taliban’s content ensures that the terror outfit (as identified by US law) does not have the digital space to spread propaganda. 

More details about content regulation 

According to the BBC report, the following details have been revealed about Facebook’s decision:

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  • Facebook has a dedicated team of Afghan experts, who are native Dari and Pashto speakers and have knowledge of the local context, to monitor and remove content linked to the Taliban. 
  • Facebook’s policies are applicable to all of its platforms including Instagram and Whatsapp
  • Responding to reports that the Taliban is using WhatsApp to communicate, Facebook said that it will take action if it finds accounts linked to the group operating on the app.
  • Facebook maintained that it doesn’t take decisions about the recognition of national governments, and instead follows the international community’s lead. 
  • Twitter said that it’s taking stock of the rapidly evolving situation. Its spokesperson also added that they’re witnessing people in Afghanistan are using Twitter to seek help and assistance, and their top priority is to keep them safe. 

Actions taken by other social media platforms 

Whatsapp: Whatsapp has shut down a complaints helpline number which was set up by the Taliban, according to a Financial Times report. The number was an emergency hotline for civilians in Afghanistan to establish contact with the Taliban to report violence, looting, and other problems. The Taliban had advertised that number when it had taken control of the capital on Sunday. Whatsapp is owned by Facebook which told FT that it had blocked other official Taliban channels and was actively scanning group names, descriptions, and profile pictures on WhatsApp to prevent the Taliban from using the platform. 

Youtube: According to a Reuters report, YouTube said on Tuesday that it has had a long-held policy of not allowing accounts, which are believed to be operated, by the Taliban on its website. 

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