Facebook Made Exceptions to Its Taliban Ban: Report

  • Facebook bans accounts maintained by the Taliban, which seized energy in Afghanistan in August.
  • Internal memos seen by The Intercept reveals Facebook has made area of interest exceptions to this ban.
  • Facebook confirmed it had made occasional exceptions, together with for 2 posts about COVID-19.

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Facebook has made occasional exceptions to its ban on Taliban content material for the reason that group seized energy in Afghanistan in August, inside paperwork reviewed by The Intercept reveal.

The Taliban, which introduced that they had shaped an interim authorities in Afghanistan in early September, are on Facebook’s listing of “Dangerous Individuals and Organizations,” and an organization spokesperson informed Insider in August: “we remove accounts maintained by or on behalf of the Taliban and prohibit praise, support, and representation of them.”

The Intercept seen inside Facebook memos that talked about instances when the corporate allowed branches of Afghanistan’s authorities to publish. One memo from the top of September detailed an exception for the Ministry of the Interior in order that it may publish about site visitors laws.

“We assess the public value of this content to outweigh the potential harm,” the memo mentioned, per The Intercept.

In one other memo from the identical time interval, Facebook allowed the Ministry of Health to publish two posts containing details about COVID-19.

Facebook additionally seems to have created time-limited exceptions. One inside memo seen by The Intercept mentioned that for 12 days in August, authorities figures may acknowledge the Taliban because the “official gov of Afghanistan” with out risking suspension from Facebook.

From late August to early September, customers have been allowed to publish Taliban public statements with out having to “neutrally discuss, report on, or condemn” them, The Intercept reported, citing an inside memo.

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to The Intercept that the corporate had made some exceptions to its Taliban ban.

“We continue to review content and Pages against our policies and last month removed several Pages including those from the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Public Works. However, we’ve allowed some content about the provision of essential public services in Afghanistan, including, for example, two posts in August on the Afghan Health Page,” the spokesperson mentioned.

Ashley Jackson, codirector of the Centre for the Study of Armed Groups, informed The Intercept that Facebook’s strategy to deciding which Taliban content material to permit appeared arbitrary. “The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan have absolute power over the government. It makes little sense to pick and choose,” she mentioned.

Jackson criticized the corporate in August when it shut down a Taliban-run WhatsApp hotline for reporting looting and lawlessness. “If the Taliban all of a sudden can’t use WhatsApp, you’re just isolating Afghans, making it harder for them to communicate in an already panicky situation,” Jackson informed The Financial Times on the time.

Facebook is just not the one social-media platform to ban the Taliban. YouTube mentioned in August it had a longstanding coverage of terminating accounts owned or operated by the Taliban. Twitter, nonetheless, permits Taliban figures to make use of its platform.