Facebook has blocked WhatsApp accounts linked to the Taliban.
Speaking to AFP, a spokesperson from Facebook said that the insurgent group was using WhatsApp to organize and govern after they seized control of Afghanistan.
“The Taliban is sanctioned as a terrorist organization under US law and we have banned them from our services under our Dangerous Organization policies,” a Facebook spokesperson told AFP.
The social media giant has shut down a WhatsApp hotline that the Taliban had set up to receive complaints about violence and looting.
In an email to AFP, a WhatsApp spokesperson said that the company is required to follow US sanctions.
“This includes banning accounts that appear to represent themselves as official accounts of the Taliban. We’re seeking more information from relevant US authorities given the evolving situation in Afghanistan,” the company said.
“This means we remove accounts maintained by or on behalf of the Taliban and prohibit praise, support, and representation of them.”
Social media platforms are facing pressure to block accounts linked to the Taliban after their takeover of Afghanistan.
Facebook said it was using “a dedicated team of Afghanistan experts, who are native Dari and Pashto speakers and have knowledge of local context,” to help guide policy.
“Our teams are closely monitoring this situation as it evolves. Facebook does not make decisions about the recognized government in any particular country but instead respects the authority of the international community in making these determinations,” Facebook said.
Meanwhile, a Taliban spokesman criticized Facebook for blocking “freedom of speech” in the country.
At a news conference streamed online, the Taliban official responded to a question about freedom of expression by saying, “The question should be asked to those people who are claiming to be promoters of freedom of speech who do not allow publication of all information.. the Facebook company, this question should be asked to them.”