Twitter grants blue tick to Taliban accounts, removes them shortly afterwards

Twitter grants blue tick to Taliban accounts, removes them shortly afterwards
2 min read
18 January, 2023
Twitter granted blue ticks to two prominent Taliban officials on Monday but removed them soon afterwards after outrage from the site's users.
The Taliban have a strong presence on Twitter [Getty]

Twitter has removed verification blue ticks for two leaders of Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban movement after many of the platform's users voiced outrage over the move.

Hedaytaullah Hedayat, the head of the Taliban's "access to information" and Abdul Haq Hammad, an official responsible for media at the movement's ministry of information and culture, both acquired blue ticks on Twitter on Monday, The Guardian reported on Tuesday.

This followed a change in policy at Twitter announced by South African billionaire Elon Musk shortly after he took over the platform last October.

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Previously only accounts that were considered "active, notable and authentic accounts of public interest" could receive the blue tick but after his takeover Musk said that anyone prepared to pay a fee of eight dollars per month could get the tick.

Hammad has over 170,000 followers on Twitter while Hedayat has nearly 189,000.

Shortly after the blue ticks appeared, Taliban official Muhammad Jalal praised Musk and said he was "making Twitter again".

Another Taliban official, General Mubeen Khan, reportedly claimed that Elon Musk was an Afghan from Logar province who had gone as a refugee to the United States.

The blue ticks were removed the next day.

The Taliban took control of the Afghan capital Kabul in August 2021, nearly 20 years after they were deposed from power during the US-led "war on terror" which followed the September 11, 2001 attacks.

They now control nearly all of Afghanistan but no country has recognised their government. The hardline Islamist movement has been condemned for depriving women of employment and education.

They have a notable presence on Twitter however and have used it to spread their message.