The Taliban Control Afghanistan, How Should The Big Social Media Respond?


Facebook has announced the blockade of the Taliban and all the content that supports it from their platforms, since it considers that the group is a terrorist organization. The announcement opens the discussion of how technology companies and in particular large social networks should respond to a group like this in a week where the situation in Afghanistan has once again made the headlines around the world.

As you know, Afghanistan is already ruled de facto by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan controlled by the taliban, after a military campaign (if you can call it that) that has swept away the Afghan government in just over a week. The decision to leave the international troops and the action of the Afghan army (government), allegedly well trained and armed by the international community after spending billions of dollars and putting many dead on the ground for twenty years, is behind the return. to the power of the Taliban, although the situation comes from far away.

Rights organizations they have sounded the alarm before the drift that a country is going to take that has never been invaded, but that in recent decades has been in a permanent situation of war and suffering. The memory of the previous government of the Taliban regime, its terrible performance against human rights due to the interpretation of the Sharia (Islamic law) does not advance anything positive for the population, especially for the abuses against women.

For the international community, whose latest decisions not a few describe as shameful, Afghanistan has been impossible to understand and manage. There would be much to say, but it is not our mission. The reality is that the current situation is a monumental failure and it is feared that it will also have repercussions in the West due to the proven connection with even more extremist groups such as Al Qaeda. A good opinion piece to catch up on: «Cynicism about Afghanistan«.

Social media, Taliban and Afghanistan

Social media is of vital importance in the world we live in and for years, the Taliban have used social networks to spread their messages. Afghanistan’s takeover poses new challenges for tech companies on how to deal with group-related content.

Facebook has clarified its position in a note to the BBC: “The Taliban are sanctioned as a terrorist organization under US law and we have banned them from our services under our dangerous organization policies. This means that we delete accounts maintained by or on behalf of the Taliban and prohibit praise, endorsement and representation of them ».

Facebook says it has a dedicated team of Dari and Pashto native-speaking Afghan experts with knowledge of the local context to monitor and remove content linked to the group. The social media giant said it did not make decisions about the recognition of national governments, but instead followed the “Authority of the international community”.

Facebook highlighted that the policy applies to all your platforms, including its flagship social media network Instagram and WhatsApp, although there are reports that the Taliban are using the instant messaging service it is being used for military and organizational communications.

Regarding the use of Twitter, also widespread by the Taliban, a spokesperson for the company has pointed out the policies against violent organizations and hateful behavior, although he has not reported other policies. Twitter does not allow messages from groups that promote terrorism or violence against civilians, but you have to have the capacity to do so. Other platforms contacted by the BBC such as YouTube have not specified whether they have concrete measures to manage the content that the de facto government of Afghanistan disseminates on vital social networks.

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