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Afghanistan unrest: Facebook shuts down Taliban's WhatsApp accounts

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, center, leaves after his first news conference, in Kabul, Afghanistan, (AP)Premium
Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, center, leaves after his first news conference, in Kabul, Afghanistan, (AP)

  • Facebook said that the Taliban is sanctioned as a terrorist organisation under US law, and therefore the company is required to follow the US sanctions
  • Apart from Facebook, Alphabet Inc's YouTube has also banned accounts that are believed to be owned and operated by the Taliban

Facebook said it would be blocking WhatsApp accounts linked to the Taliban as it considers the group to be a terrorist organisation.

The social media giant said that the Taliban is sanctioned as a terrorist organisation under US law, and therefore the company is required to follow the 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. This means we remove accounts maintained by or on behalf of the Taliban and prohibit praise, support, and representation of them," Facebook told the AFP news agency.

Facebook has banned the Taliban from its services under "Dangerous Organization policies".

Facebook said it is taking the help 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.

Facebook highlighted that the policy applies to all of its platforms including its flagship social media network, Instagram.

Meanwhile, a Taliban spokesman slammed Facebook for blocking "freedom of speech" in the country as a result of the crackdown by the US firm.

Apart from Facebook, Alphabet Inc's YouTube has also banned accounts that are believed to be owned and operated by the Taliban.

(With AFP inputs)

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