Facebook says it will still ban Taliban-related content after fall of Kabul

Facebook says it will still ban Taliban-related content after fall of Kabul
Facebook has continued to ban Taliban-related content from their platforms, including Instagram and WhatsApp, after the fall of Kabul to the insurgents.
2 min read
18 August, 2021
Facebook says in follows the "authority of the international community" [Getty]

Facebook said it will continue to ban Taliban-related content, days after the insurgents took over Kabul and forced the Afghan government to flee overseas.

Facebook - which also owns Instagram and WhatsApp - said it had barred the group from all its platforms under its "Dangerous Organisation" policies. 

The move follows fierce criticism of the platform for allowing the Taliban - which is sanctioned as a terrorist organisation in the US - to use their platforms to promote extremist ideology and incite violence. 

"[The suspension] means we remove accounts maintained by or on behalf of the Taliban and prohibit praise, support, and representation of them," Facebook said in a statement to The New Arab.  

"Facebook does not make decisions about the recognised government in any particular country, but instead respects the authority of the international community in making these determinations." 

The suspension applies to all of its platforms, including Instagram and WhatsApp. 

Facebook has hired "region experts" who speak Dari and Pashto to help identify any emerging issues and monitor the situation in Afghanistan. 

"This situation is evolving rapidly, and with it I’m sure the risk will evolve as well. We are going to have to modify what we do and how we do it to respond to those changing risks as they happen," said the head of Facebook’s photo-sharing app Instagram, Adam Mosseri. 

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Facebook has already shut down a complaints helpline on WhatsApp set up by the Taliban when it took control of Kabul, according to The Financial Times. 

The complaints number was intended to be an emergency hotline for civilians to report violence, looting or other problems. 

Facebook blocked this along with other "official Taliban channels" on Tuesday. 

Some have criticised the move, such as former Red Cross and Oxfam aid worker Ashley Jackson, who said it would isolate Afghans and make it "harder for them to communicate in an already panicky situation". 

The Taliban also use Twitter regularly to update their hundreds of thousands of followers. 

The social media app does not allow groups or individuals to promote terrorism or violence against civilians, according to its own rules. 

Twitter has not yet confirmed whether it will ban Taliban-related content on its platform. 

The New Arab contacted Twitter for a statement on Taliban-related content but received no response at the time of writing.