Twitter has refused to join its social media counterparts in banning the Taliban from its platform, saying it’ll monitor content to ensure there aren’t messages ‘glorifying violence’.
The move is in stark contrast to the company’s Big Tech rivals. Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram (both owned by Facebook), TikTok and YouTube have all banned and terminated accounts that are related to, promote or praise the Taliban.
Twitter said in a statement that it will ‘continue to proactively enforce our rules and review content that may violate Twitter rules, specifically policies against glorification of violence, platform manipulation and spam.’
The social media giant used this justification to permanently ban Donald Trump after the January 6 Capitol Riot, causing cries of censorship from Trump supporters.
Twitter defended its decision to allow Taliban-related accounts to remain active, saying that people in Afghanistan are using the platform to seek help and refuge.
Facebook, which also has muzzled Trump, has had its ban on the Taliban in place for years because it considers it a ‘dangerous group.’
This double standard drew the ire of Trump supporters and conservatives.
Trump supporters and conservatives question Twitter’s stance on not banning Taliban-affiliated accounts
The two Taliban spokesmen, Suhail Shaehee and Zabihullah Mujahid have more than 351,000 and 310,000 Twitter followers, respectively. Their accounts have been active for years.
On Tuesday, Rep. Doug Lamborn sent a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey expressing concerns about members of the Taliban being allowed to use the platform to get their message out.
‘Why does Twitter allow two Taliban spokesmen to have a platform but restricts the First Amendment Rights of former President Trump? It’s past time to hold #BigTech accountable. #Taliban,’ he tweeted.
In his letter, Lamborn said it’s clear that the Taliban falls under the ‘violent organization category.’
‘In my review of these accounts, I did not find a single fact check on any of their tweets, nor any warnings for false or misleading content,’ Lamborn wrote in his letter to Dorsey.
‘These propaganda updates usually assert that the overthrow has been largely peaceful, despite reports to the contrary … It is impossible to see how the accounts of Zabihullah Mujahid and Yousef Ahmandi do not violate your policies.’
On Tuesday, Rep. Doug Lamborn sent a letter (pictured) to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey expressing concerns about members of the Taliban being allowed to use the platform
‘Why on God’s green Earth does the Taliban spokesman have an active Twitter account but not the former President of the United States?’ asked Rep. Madison Cawthorn, a North Carolina Republican.
‘Who’s side is the AMERICA BASED Big-Tech companies on?’ he added.
‘The Taliban Spokesman has a Twitter account without any problem. Meanwhile, President Trump is banned from the platform,’ tweeted Rep. Claudia Tenney, a New York Republican. ‘Something is very wrong here.’
Adrian Hilton, a conservative academic and lecturer on political philosophy in the UK, also pointed out the apparent double standards.
‘Twitter banned Donald Trump for expressing support for rioters who stormed the US Capitol. Twitter permitted the Taliban official spokesman to live-tweet Mujahideen terror, the acquisition of arms, storming the Afghanistan capital, and the occupation of the presidential palace,’ he wrote.
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has had an active Twitter account since 2017
Trump was permanently banned from Twitter over the U.S. Capitol riot on January 6
A Taliban spokesperson attack Facebook and big tech when asked about freedom of speech
During a Tuesday press conference in Kabul – which was broadcast and translated into English by Al Jazeera and posted on Twitter – a spokesperson was asked about freedom of speech.
‘This question should be asked to those people who are claiming to be promoters of freedom of speech who do not allow publication of information. I can ask [the] Facebook company,’ he replied.
The Taliban spokesman’s comments were greeted by virtual applause from Donald Trump Jr. on Twitter, who retweeted the 30-second video clip and said, ‘LOL … Also not wrong.’
Over the weekend, the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan was all but complete, after the U.S. spent two decades and billions of dollars attempting to prop up a democratic government friendly to the West.
The U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 ousted the Islamist militants from power, but they never left, and returned to power after Afghan government forces completely capitulated.
After the Taliban blitzed across the country in recent days, the Western-backed government that has run the country for 20 years collapsed.
During the Taliban’s return to power in Afghanistan, the insurgents reportedly married girls as young as 12 and forced them into sex slavery as ‘spoils of war,’ and killed Afghan troops who tried to surrender.