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Facebook to ban Taliban content on its platforms

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Taliban fighters stand guard along a roadside near the Zanbaq Square in Kabul on August 16, 2021, after a stunningly swift end to Afghanistan’s 20-year war. AFP

Facebook to ban Taliban content on its platforms

Facebook on August 17 said it was blocking WhatsApp accounts linked to the Taliban after the radical Islamic group seized control of Afghanistan and sought to use the messaging service to help it govern.

“The Taliban is sanctioned as a terrorist organisation under US law and we have banned them from our services under our Dangerous Organisation policies,” a Facebook spokesperson told AFP.

The Facebook move shut down a WhatsApp hotline the Taliban had set up to receive complaints about violence and looting, according to the Financial Times.

A WhatsApp spokesperson told AFP: “We remove accounts maintained by or on behalf of the Taliban and prohibit praise, support, and representation of them.”

The news comes with social media platforms facing pressure to block accounts used by the Taliban since the offensive which led to the takeover of the war-ravaged country.

Facebook said it was using “a dedicated team of Afghanistan experts, who are native Dari and Pashto speakers and have knowledge of local context”, to help guide policy.

A Taliban spokesman meanwhile criticised Facebook for blocking “freedom of speech” in the country as a result of the crackdown by the US firm.

At a news conference streamed online, the Taliban official responded to a question about freedom of expression by saying: “The question should be asked to those people who are claiming to be promoters of freedom of speech who do not allow publication of all information.”

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