Taliban slam Facebook for ‘blocking freedom of speech’

The Taliban have criticised Facebook for blocking freedom of speech in Afghanistan as a result of the crackdown by the US firm, Geo News reported.

A Taliban spokesman said this while reacting to social media giant Facebook’s measure to block the Taliban and their content from its platforms, including WhatsApp.

On Monday, the social media company had confirmed that it designated the Taliban as a terrorist group and is under obligation by US law to ban them and their content from its platforms.

“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. This question should be asked to Facebook,” the Taliban spokesman said while answering a question about freedom of speech at a news conference that was streamed online.

On Tuesday, Facebook had said it is blocking the WhatsApp accounts linked to the Taliban after the group seized control of Afghanistan and sought to use the messaging service to help it govern.

Facebook also shut down a WhatsApp hotline the Taliban had set up to receive complaints about violence and looting, according to the Financial Times.

The news comes with social media platforms facing pressure to block accounts used by the Taliban since the offensive, which led to the takeover of the war-ravaged country.

Facebook said it is using “a dedicated team of Afghanistan experts, who are native Dari and Pashto speakers and have knowledge of local context” to help guide its policy.

“Our teams are closely monitoring this situation as it evolves. Facebook does not make decisions about the recognised government in any particular country, but instead respects the authority of the international community in making these determinations,” Facebook said.