LONDON: Facebook has announced a ban on all content promoting and supporting the Taliban on its platform as it designated the group as a terrorist organization.
“The Taliban is sanctioned as a terrorist organization under US law and we have banned them from our services under our Dangerous Organization policies. This means we remove accounts maintained by or on behalf of the Taliban and prohibit praise, support, and representation of them,” a Facebook spokesperson said.
The tech giant also announced it had assigned a team of Afghan experts “who are native Dari and Pashto speakers and have knowledge of local context” to monitor and remove Taliban-linked content from the platform.
The Taliban have long used social media platforms, particularly Facebook, to spread their ideology.
While Facebook stated that the new policy also applies to Facebook’s linked apps, WhatsApp and Instagram, reports emerged that the group continues to use WhatsApp to communicate.
WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption feature facilitates the Taliban’s communication with Afghanis. However, a Facebook spokesperson said that WhatsApp would take action on any accounts found to be linked with sanctioned organizations in Afghanistan, which would likely include account removal.
Social media platforms have come under heavy scrutiny in recent years for their significant political and social influence, most recently in relation to their failure in combating hate speech in Myanmar, social media posts of former US President Donald Trump inciting violence and riots, and the censorship of Palestinian-related content during the recent Israeli-Palestinian conflict.