Facebook’s Taliban Policy Could Delete a Lot More Than Just Pro-Taliban Content
Here’s a look at some of the latest developments related to Afghanistan.
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube take different approaches to Taliban content. Facebook considers the Taliban a terrorist group and will continue to ban pro-Taliban content from Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, the company confirmed. Content moderators will continue to block not only content from Taliban-associated accounts but all pro-Taliban content, regardless of who is sharing it.
“The Taliban is sanctioned as a terrorist organization under U.S. law and we have banned them from our services under our Dangerous Organization policies,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “This means we remove accounts maintained by or on behalf of the Taliban and prohibit praise, support, and representation of them.”
As tends to be the case, Facebook is taking a more extreme approach than some of its competitors. Both YouTube and Twitter indicated that they would block Taliban content if it violates other platform policies (such as prohibitions on certain sorts of violent content) but will not unilaterally ban pro-Taliban content.
This seems to be the right approach, from both a first-principles free speech standpoint and a desire not to inadvertently block content that could be educational, newsworthy, or shared by ordinary Afghan users trying to get the word out about what’s happening in their country.
A Twitter spokesperson told CNBC “the situation in Afghanistan is rapidly evolving. We’re also witnessing people in the country using Twitter to seek help and assistance. Twitter’s top priority is keeping people safe, and we remain vigilant.” And Alphabet, which owns YouTube, “said it allows content that provides sufficient educational, documentary, scientific and artistic context,” CNBC notes.
Rasmus Nielsen of the University of Oxford further outlined the danger of unintended consequences from policies like Facebook’s, telling CNBC that “every time someone is banned there is a risk they were only using the platform for legitimate purposes. Given the disagreement over terms like ‘terrorism’ and who gets to designate individuals and groups as such, civil society groups and activists will want clarity about the nature and extent of collaboration with governments in making these decisions. And many users will seek reassurances that any technologies used for enforcement preserves their privacy.”
Who’s Arming the Taliban? Us. American investment in the Afghan military has ultimately benefited the Taliban. “A U.S. defense official on Monday confirmed the Taliban’s sudden accumulation of U.S.-supplied Afghan equipment is enormous,” reports the Associated Press. Their new cache includes guns, ammunition, and combat aircraft.
“The reversal is an embarrassing consequence of misjudging the viability of Afghan government forces — by the U.S. military as well as intelligence agencies — which in some cases chose to surrender their vehicles and weapons rather than fight,” the A.P. say
Article from Latest – Reason.com