Facebook confirmed on Tuesday August 17 that it would continue to ban Taliban content on its platforms, despite their takeover in Afghanistan. The Silicon Valley juggernaut indeed considers the Taliban as a terrorist organization, which has long used social networks and instant messaging to inform and communicate, like other Islamist groups.
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Their lightning takeover of Afghanistan, however, questions the responsibility of Big Tech in the treatment of content related to the group. A Facebook spokesperson reminds the BBC that the Taliban have been classified as a terrorist organization for many years:
“The Taliban are considered a terrorist organization under US law and we have banned them from our services […]. This means that we remove accounts managed by or on behalf of the Taliban, and that we prohibit any apology, support or representation of them. “
The Californian giant emphasizes to the British media that it already has expert moderators from Afghanistan “Whose mother tongue is Dari and Pashto, and who have knowledge of the local context”. Facebook adds, however, that it will not take responsibility for the recognition of the national government and will stick to “The authority of the international community”.
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WhatsApp is harder to control
Facebook specifies that the Taliban are also persona non grata on Instagram and WhatsApp since its standards apply to the entire Californian group. However, reveals the “Washington Post”, the Taliban claiming to be “In charge of the security of Kabul” used WhatsApp to send messages to residents of the capital, providing contact numbers to report any incidents.
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Facebook tells the BBC that action is taken when users linked to the terrorist group are discovered. However, the very possibility of moderating WhatsApp is much more restricted or even impossible since the messaging is encrypted, as a spokesperson for the application explained to Vice:
“As a private messaging service, we do not have access to the content of users’ personal chats, however, if we realize that a sanctioned person or organization may be present on WhatsApp, we take action. “Should we prioritize Internet content in times of crisis?
Taliban have 300,000 Twitter followers
For its part, Twitter has been communicating for years about its moderation of violent and hateful content: in accordance with its policy, the blue bird firm does not allow groups that promote terrorism or violence against civilians.
However, the spokespersons of the Taliban massively used Twitter to inform in real time their 300,000 subscribers of the progress of their assault in Afghanistan. As freelance American journalist Michael Tracey sarcastically points out, “It is good to know that Twitter will allow us to have regular news of the new Taliban government, but that we will have to go elsewhere to get some from Donald Trump”.
Contacted by the information site Business Insider, the YouTube platform, owned by Google, indicated that its rules of use applied to all its users without distinction, implicitly indicating that it did not intend to institute specific censorship for pro-Taliban content.