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Twitter refuses to remove accounts of Islamist group Taliban, claims will ‘ensure’ it follows ‘rules’

Twitter has come under fire for giving a platform to the spokespersons of the Taliban to update their hundreds of thousands of followers as they took control of different regions of Afghanistan.

The micro-blogging site Twitter has refused to follow other social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube in prohibiting the Islamist group Taliban from using its platform.

According to the reports, Twitter has refused to suspend the accounts of the leaders associated with the Islamist organisation.

Responding to media on whether Twitter would take action against the terror group, a spokesman for the company sidestepped the question, saying it would “continue to proactively enforce” its rules on the “glorification of violence, platform manipulation and spam.”

“Twitter’s top priority is keeping people safe, and we remain vigilant,” the social media giant claimed.

Currently, the official Taliban spokesmen have unverified accounts on Twitter. One, Zabihullah Mujahid, has more than 310,000 followers. On Tuesday, Zabihullah had posted a tweet promoting the alleged press conference organised by Taliban that drew hundreds of responses, many of them from well-wishers.

The other spokesman, Qari Yousaf Ahmadi, who has more than 63,000 followers, rose to fame during the recent Taliban onslaught on the Afghan government. He had aggressively tweeted about the attacks against the Afghan National Army and the Taliban’s capture of various cities.

Suhail Shaheen, the face of the Taliban on the media platforms lately, who is also a member of the Taliban’s negotiations team and political group, is also active on Twitter. However, no action has been taken against any of these accounts.

Twitter has come under fire for giving a platform to the spokespersons of the Taliban to update their hundreds of thousands of followers as they took control of different regions of Afghanistan.

The reluctance of Twitter to remove accounts associated with the radical Islamists has exposed the hypocrisy of the micro-blogging site. Several critics of Twitter have pointed out how Twitter was eager to ban former United States President Donald Trump in the aftermath of the Capitol Hill riots in Washington earlier this year. However, it failed to take any action against the Islamist organisation with the same intent.

Facebook, YouTube bans Taliban

On Tuesday, social media giant Facebook announced that it had banned Taliban and all content supporting it from all its platforms as it is considered as a terrorist organisation under US Law. The company had said that a dedicated team of Afghan experts is monitoring and removing all content linked to the group from its platforms.

Notably, the Taliban has been using social media platforms for a long time to propagate its messages. Reports say that the Taliban has used WhatsApp extensively to spread its message.

“The Taliban are sanctioned as a terrorist organisation under US law & we’ve banned them from our services under our Dangerous Organisation Policies. This means we remove accounts maintained by/on behalf of the Taliban and ban their praise, support, and representation,” Facebook had issued a statement.

They further added, “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 about emerging issues on the platform.”

Similarly, video sharing platform YouTube has also said that it will ban accounts it believes are owned and operated by Taliban. WhatsApp, a part of Facebook Inc, has also shut down a complaints helpline set up by Taliban after it took control over Afghanistan.

 

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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