The Taliban is blanket banned on Facebook, but not on Twitter or YouTube

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The Taliban is blanket banned on Facebook, but not on Twitter or YouTube
A Taliban fighter looks on as he stands at the city of Ghazni, Afghanistan August 14, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer
  • Facebook said Tuesday it's proactively taking down content supporting the Taliban.
  • The Taliban is banned on Facebook under its "Dangerous Individuals and Organizations" policy.
  • YouTube and Twitter appear to be taking a less hardline approach.

As the Taliban takes power in Afghanistan for the first time in 20 years, social-media companies must choose how to deal with pro-Taliban content.

Facebook said on Tuesday that the Taliban had long been banned on its platform under its "Dangerous Individuals and Organizations" policy. A spokesperson told Insider the company was "proactively" taking down content praising the Taliban, and that it had deployed a team of Afghanistan experts to monitor the situation.

On Tuesday, both Twitter and YouTube stopped short of saying they would ban the Taliban on their platforms.

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When questioned by Reuters about whether it banned the Taliban, Google-owned YouTube declined to comment, but said it followed guidance from governments in defining "Foreign Terrorist Organizations" (FTOs). YouTube pointed Reuters to the US State Department's list of FTOs, which the Taliban is not on.

CNBC reporter Sam Shead said he was told by a YouTube spokesperson that the platform's Community Guidelines apply equally to everyone.

YouTube did not immediately respond when contacted by Insider for comment.

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Taliban spokesmen used Twitter to broadcast updates to hundreds of thousands of followers, Reuters reported. When asked about the Taliban's use of Twitter by Reuters, the company pointed to its policies against violent organizations and hateful conduct but declined to answer further.

Twitter did not comment explicitly on its approach to the Taliban when contacted by Insider, but a spokesperson said: "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. We 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."

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