The Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan was shocking to witness. Many nations were concerned about the safety of the people in Afghanistan and what this would mean in the big picture. In its first press conference recently, the Taliban made its stance clear, promised no revenge, and vowed to protect women’s rights within the Islamic framework.
However, its recent presence on social media has undoubtedly been a matter of confusion. Social media platforms are quite unsure of this recent development. For instance, its spokesman recently uploaded five videos on its official YouTube page.
Twitter, Facebook, TiKTok and Youtube
Twitter also witnessed the presence of many enthusiastic Taliban supporters. Currently, governments around the world are debating whether to acknowledge the Taliban as a legitimate government in the world. Hence, the social media companies that had treated the Taliban as a terrorist organization so far now have tough decisions to make.
The Taliban was banned on platforms like Facebook, TikTok, and YouTube for all these years. These platforms recently removed the accounts of these Taliban supporters. And yet, the Taliban seems to have had a presence on social media ever since September despite the ban. Hence, the companies have been criticized so far for their ineffectiveness.
Existence of Pro-Taliban Accounts
Such accounts seemed to have existed for years and were inactive. With this recent development, there has been sudden activity on these platforms. Their approach is headed in the direction of self-glorification and their right to be the rulers of Afghanistan. Researchers suggest that this impression being created by the Taliban is primarily to look responsible and eventually gain acceptance.
The Taliban is Presenting a Soft Image
One thing remains clear: the Taliban is firmly devoted to its extremist ideology despite any relaxations in its approach to crime and punishment as opposed to a few decades ago. Hence, the social media platforms are posed with the difficulty of what they can allow the Taliban to post.
Expert Views on Taliban’s Approach to Social Media
Facebook has activated an emergency response team to carefully assess the current situation, track and measure how the Taliban is making use of Facebook and WhatsApp. In fact, despite the ban of Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, sources suggest that another new WhatsApp account has arisen in his place. The encrypted nature of these applications poses further problems.
The Taliban seems even to be changing spellings in its hashtags. They even seem to dance around the guidelines regarding the content, images, and videos they are posting. Hence, they are evading the possibility of violating the rules and being banned. Many researchers have explained that the Taliban presents a soft image of itself on social media while maintaining the same ruthlessness in real life.
To Sum Up
It will be interesting to observe the developments that will follow in the coming weeks. Hopefully, the stance will get clearer, and the social media companies will be able to function in light of overall public interest effectively.