Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube struggle: Despite taking a no-scrutiny approach when it comes to Taliban-related content on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube-related platforms, there has been some confusion reported among companies on how to handle the insurgents.
Silicon Valley has hard work at hand. For the first time in two decades, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube need to find ways to balance the response against the Taliban, a conservative terrorist-affiliated group that controls the state apparatus in Afghanistan.
As the terrorist-affiliated group is now on its way to ruling the entire country, social media companies are left with tough questions – should they continue their consumer policies to reflect a tough stance against the insurgents or enforce the Taliban regime on social media like any other internationally recognized government?
For the most part, social media platforms seem to be taking a no-scrutiny approach. So far, Facebook and YouTube have banned the Taliban from their platforms under US sanctions policies. On the other hand, Twitter has not yet banned the Taliban but is cracking down on personal pieces of violent content.
YouTube, an online video-sharing and social media platform owned by Google has also said it will cancel Taliban accounts.
However, there has been some confusion reported on social media platforms on how to manage the Taliban. Although Facebook claims that the ban on the Taliban has been in place for years in its “dangerous organizations” policy, it appears that the social media giant has only deactivated some Taliban accounts after facing questions from the New York Times. Tweet by news agency reporter Shira Frenkel.
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Moreover, the action taken by Facebook against Taliban accounts does not appear to have been translated into other company-owned platforms.
WhatsApp, a Facebook-owned instant messaging service, says it will take action against individuals or organizations that use the app, but will first need to identify who uses the app.
A company spokesman said in a statement that WhatsApp had not taken any action against some of the accounts being promoted by the Taliban because the platform was using end-to-end encryption for its messages.
According to a Politico news report, the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism – an industry group started by Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Microsoft “to prevent terrorists and violent terrorists from exploiting digital platforms” – did not even take the position of the Taliban regime’s communications on social media Leaves to platforms.
“They (companies) are working a little harder,” quoted an official at Access Now, a political journalism company Global Digital Rights Advocacy Group. “I don’t think people are fully prepared for this to happen in Afghanistan. So what happens is that more and more work has to be done every hour on this.”