The social media company’s policy chief said on Wednesday that even if the United States stops imposing sanctions on the organization, Facebook may not lift its ban on the Taliban, which has quickly taken control of Afghanistan.
The US State Department does not classify the Afghan Taliban as a foreign terrorist organization like the Pakistani Taliban. But Washington did sanction the organization as a “specially designated global terrorist.” The organization freezes the American assets of those on the blacklist and prohibits Americans from cooperating with them.
“Under the circumstances stipulated by the US law, they will not be allowed. Even if the US law does not provide for it, we must conduct a policy analysis on whether they violate our dangerous organization policy,” Facebook vice president of content policy Monika Bickert in a phone call with reporters It talked about the company’s latest community standard implementation report.
Facebook said it designated the Taliban as a terrorist organization and prohibited it from using its platform. Bickert said the ban was implemented before she joined the company in 2012.
Large technology companies are facing scrutiny as to how they will deal with organizations that seize control in Afghanistan after the withdrawal of US troops. Alphabet’s YouTube stated that it banned the organization due to US sanctions, but Twitter allowed the organization to exist.
“When the United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001, these companies did not exist,” said Ross Jackson, director of the Democracy and Technology Initiative at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensics Research Laboratory. They are now facing a consequential decision similar to a government decision.
The Taliban are already proficient in digital technology and now use a wide range of social media platforms and messaging services, such as Facebook’s WhatsApp and Telegram, to communicate with Afghan citizens and the international community.
© Thomson Reuters 2021