Social media giant, 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 who have all banned and terminated accounts that are related to, promote or praise the Taliban.
According to Daily Mail, 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 former United States President, 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 Americans who are Trump’s supporters and conservatives.
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.
“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.
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.