Facebook may not lift its ban on the Taliban even if the United States stops imposing sanctions on the group, which has quickly taken control of Afghanistan, the social media company’s chief of policy said Wednesday.
The US State Department does not list the Afghan Taliban as a foreign terrorist organization like the Pakistani Taliban. But Washington does endorse the group as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist,” freezing the US assets of those on the blacklist and prohibiting Americans from working with them.
“They won’t be allowed as long as they’re mandated by US law, and even if they aren’t mandated by US law, we should conduct a policy analysis to determine whether they nevertheless violate our Dangerous Organizations Policy,” Facebook’s said. Vice President of Content Policy Monika Bickert said while speaking to reporters about the latest report on the enforcement of community standards.
Facebook says it is designating the Taliban as a terrorist group and banning it from its platforms. Bickert said the ban was in effect before she joined the company in 2012.
Major tech companies have been scrutinized over how they will deal with the group that has taken control of Afghanistan after the withdrawal of US troops. Alphabet’s YouTube said it is banning the group due to US sanctions, but Twitter has allowed the group to attend.
“In 2001, when the US invaded Afghanistan, these companies didn’t exist,” said Rose Jackson, director of the Democracy & Tech Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, and they are now facing decisions similar to the decisions of the state by governments.
The Taliban are digitally savvy and now use a wide variety of social media platforms and messaging services such as Facebook’s WhatsApp and Telegram to communicate with Afghan citizens and the international community.
© Thomson Reuters 2021