Taliban Banned on Facebook, Allowed on Twitter -- Trump Still Banned on Both

August 18th, 2021 6:38 PM

"Why Trump's banned and the Taliban aren't: they play by the rules." Such was the absurd comment tweeted by Technology Policy Editor of The Washington Post Mark Seibel.

Facebook has issued a blanket ban on the Taliban, but Twitter allows an account purportedly run by its spokesman -- for now.

The Taliban rapidly took power in Afghanistan after the United States' withdrawal last week. 

Facebook noted that the Taliban has long been banned under its "Dangerous Individuals and Organizations" policy, but the platform said it was "proactively" removing Taliban propaganda, according to Business Insider.

Despite Facebook’s account blanket ban on the terror group, a Twitter account run by a purported Taliban spokesperson is still on the platform.

Twitter account @Zabehulah_M33, describes itself as the "[o]fficial Twitter Account of the Spokesman of Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Zabihullah Mujahid." Some commentators argue that the reason the purported pro-Taliban accounts have not been removed is because the terror group has taken advantage of technological innovation.

“The Taliban of today is immensely savvy with technology and social media — nothing like the group it was 20 years ago,” Rita Katz, executive director of SITE Intelligence Group, a group that monitors “online extremism,” reportedly told The Washington Post.

“The Taliban is clearly threading the needle regarding social media content policies and is not yet crossing the very distinct policy-violating lines that Trump crossed,” Katz added.

She noted, however, that “this doesn’t mean at all that the Taliban shouldn’t be removed from social media, because the waves of propaganda and messaging it is spreading — permissible as it may seem by some content policy standards — is fueling a newly emboldened and extremely dangerous global Islamist militant movement.”

Meanwhile, it seems to some that Big Tech is teaming up to censor former President Donald Trump. Twitter users slammed the platform for the hypocrisy of allowing a terror group to have an active account while the former president is permanently banned.

“Taliban's official spokesman has an active Twitter account. Meanwhile, the former President of the United States remains banned,” commentator Ian Miles Cheong tweeted.

Trump was banned earlier in the year after the Jan. 6th riot. “After close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them we have permanently suspended the account due to the risk of further incitement of violence,” Twitter said at the time. 

Twitter Safety said, “[W]e made it clear...that additional violations of the Twitter Rules would potentially result in this very course of action,” but did not elaborate on the suspension. 

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