Within the company, Facebook has activated an emergency team in the past few days to follow the situation in Afghanistan and to evaluate the use of its products by the Taliban, including its messaging app WhatsApp, according to information from employees of the social network. Twitter and YouTube have tried to read between the lines of diplomatic cables from world leaders whether the US government would have a de facto relationship with the Taliban, officials who attended the companies’ talks said.
But even after the companies removed Taliban accounts, the bans were permeable. When Facebook blocked the WhatsApp account of Zabihullah Mujahid, a Taliban spokesman, this week, he distributed a new, still active WhatsApp account of another Taliban leader to journalists.
Understanding the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan
Map 1 of 5
Who are the Taliban? The Taliban emerged in 1994 amid the unrest following the withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan in 1989. They used brutal public punishments, including flogging, amputation and mass executions, to enforce their rules. Here is more about their genesis and track record as rulers.
Who are the Taliban leaders? These are the top leaders of the Taliban, men who for years have been on the run, in hiding, in prison and dodged American drones. Little is known about them or how they plan to rule, including whether they will be as tolerant as they say they are.
What is happening to the women of Afghanistan? When the Taliban was last in power, they banned women and girls from most jobs or from going to school. Afghan women have gained a lot since the Taliban was overthrown, but now they fear that they are losing ground. Taliban officials are trying to reassure women that things will be different, but there are indications that they have begun to reintroduce the old order in at least some areas.
The Taliban also easily escaped findability by changing the spelling of their hashtags or keywords and using encrypted apps like Telegram and WhatsApp to broadcast their messages and ask volunteers to translate social media posts into multiple languages, Ms said. Aziz, the independent researcher.
Each trawl also appears to falsely involve others who have posted content opposing the Taliban. After HumSub news site published an article this month to counter a column in a local newspaper praising another Taliban founder, Mullah Muhammad Omar, Facebook removed the article, said Adnan Kakar, editor at HumSub.
“We immediately received a message that ‘your item has been removed due to standards intended for dangerous people and organizations,'” he said. Mr Kakar said his personal account and HumSub’s Facebook page have also been banned for 24 hours and banned from live streaming and advertising for 60 days. When he challenged Facebook, he said he didn’t get a response.
To add to the difficulties of the platforms, many of the new pro-Taliban accounts have been careful to post content that does not openly support violence or hate speech that would violate corporate rules.
A new account appeared on Twitter on August 8th, named after the state not recognized by the Taliban, the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan. The account with more than 400 followers has posted two videos showing Taliban military maneuvers. But none of the videos contained violent or graphic images or directly incited violence.