Less than 48 hours after the Taliban gained control of Kabul, and with it, control over most of Afghanistan, Facebook has announced that it will ban—to the extent that it can—content related to the Taliban on all its platforms. The social media giant confirmed that both the Taliban group itself and user-posted Taliban content will not be allowed on Facebook, Instagram, or WhatsApp.
“The Taliban is sanctioned as a terrorist organization under U.S. law and we have banned them from our services under our Dangerous Organization policies,” a spokesperson told Fast Company when reached for comment. “We also have a dedicated team of Afghanistan experts, who are native Dari and Pashto speakers and have knowledge of local context, helping to identify and alert us to emerging issues on the platform.”
The spokesperson added that the policy is not new and that Facebook makes such determinations based on consensus within the international community.
Yet banning Taliban-related content is much easier for the company to do on its Facebook and Instagram platforms since Facebook can monitor all content posted there. WhatsApp is different since the app and any messages sent are end-to-end encrypted, which means Facebook can’t see the content being shared. However, a WhatsApp spokesperson confirmed to Vice that if the company becomes aware the Taliban are using certain WhatsApp channels, the company will “take action” against them.
This post has been updated with Facebook’s response.