Within the companies, Facebook has activated an emergency response team in recent days to monitor the situation in Afghanistan and assess the Taliban’s use of its products, including the messaging app WhatsApp, social network employees said. Twitter and YouTube have been trying to read between the lines of diplomatic cables from world leaders whether the US government would enter into a de facto relationship with the Taliban, workers who took part in discussions at the companies said.
But even when the companies deleted Taliban accounts, the banned ones were porous. When Facebook blocked the WhatsApp account of Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, this week, he distributed a new, still active WhatsApp account of another Taliban leader to journalists.
Understand the Taliban Takeover in Afghanistan
Who are the Taliban? The Taliban emerged in 1994 amid the unrest following the 1989 withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan. They used brutal public punishment, including flogging, amputations and mass executions, to enforce their rules. Here’s more about their origin story and their track record as rulers.
The Taliban also easily escaped being found by changing the spelling in their hashtags or key terms, and using encrypted apps, such as Telegram and WhatsApp, to seed their messages and ask volunteers to make social media posts in multiple languages. to translate. Aziz, the independent researcher.
Each dragnet also seems to mistakenly confuse others who have posted content that pushes the Taliban back. After the news site HumSub published an article this month to refute a column in a local newspaper praising another Taliban founder, Mullah Muhammad Omar, Facebook removed the article, said Adnan Kakar, an editor at HumSub.
“We immediately received a message that ‘your article has been removed due to standards for dangerous individuals and organizations,'” he said. Mr Kakar said his personal account and HumSub’s Facebook page were also suspended for 24 hours and blocked from live streaming and advertising for 60 days. When he challenged Facebook, he said, he got no response.
In addition to the difficulties the platforms face, many of the new pro-Taliban accounts have carefully posted content that does not openly promote violence or hate speech, which would violate the companies’ rules.
A new account surfaced on Twitter on August 8 with the name of the Taliban’s unrecognized state, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The account, which has more than 400 followers, has posted two videos showing Taliban military maneuvers. But neither video contained violent or graphic images or directly invoked violence.