Afghanistan: Facebook confirms ban of Taliban-related content

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Facebook says it has banned the Taliban and all content supporting it from its platforms as it considers the group to be a terrorist organisation, the BBC has reported.

The company says it has a dedicated team of Afghan experts to monitor and remove content linked to the group.

For years, the Taliban has used social media to spread its messages.

Its rapid takeover of Afghanistan raises fresh challenges for technology firms on how to deal with content related to the group.

“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 told the BBC.

“We also have a dedicated team of Afghanistan experts, who are native Dari and Pashto speakers and have knowledge of local context, helping to identify and alert us to emerging issues on the platform,” they added.

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The social media giant said it does not make decisions about the recognition of national governments but instead follows the “authority of the international community”.

Facebook highlighted that the policy applies to all of its platforms including its flagship social media network, Instagram and WhatsApp.

However, there are reports that the Taliban is using WhatsApp to communicate.

Facebook told the BBC that it would take action if it found accounts on the app to be linked to the group.

Rival social media platforms have also come under scrutiny over how they handle Taliban-related content.

Spokesmen have used Twitter to update their hundreds of thousands of followers, as the organisation retook control of Afghanistan.

In response to BBC questions about the Taliban’s use of Twitter, a company spokesperson highlighted policies against violent organisations and hateful conduct.

According to its rules, Twitter does not allow groups that promote terrorism or violence against civilians.

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Alphabet’s YouTube did not immediately respond to a BBC request for comment on its policies in respect to the Taliban.