‘Strikingly sophisticated’ Taliban thrive on Twitter while Trump still banned
The translated tweet of a pro-al Qaeda group reads, “Afghanistan is Conquered and Islam has Won.”
The terrorist group Hamas celebrated “The defeat of the American occupation on all Afghan land.”
These messages come after the national humiliation of a Taliban blitzkrieg that took back Afghanistan after nearly 20 years of U.S. involvement there. The result continues to dominate the news cycle, and rightly so.
The Biden administration’s incompetence is alarming even to many Democrats and their media allies. One possible consequence is that al Qaeda and ISIS will be given safe haven to plan and carry out attacks, perhaps while using U.S. military gear.
And despite the Taliban’s brutality and dishonesty, two Taliban spokesmen have Twitter accounts, including Zabihullah Mujahid, who boasts nearly 320,000 followers. Mujahid has posted dozens of videos that have been viewed millions of times. Quite a platform for the Taliban to have, and it doesn’t cost them a dime.
It’s odd and patently disturbing that pro-al Qaeda groups and the Taliban have social media accounts to spew propaganda and recruit across the world. Because at last check, Twitter often and quickly bans accounts it deems to be spreading misinformation or sees as public threats.
Yet here we are. And in a statement this week, Twitter would not commit to banning those representing Islamic extremist governments from using its powerful platform.
“The situation in Afghanistan is rapidly evolving,” said a Twitter spokesperson. “We’re also witnessing people in the country using Twitter to seek help and assistance. Twitter’s top priority is keeping people safe, and we remain vigilant.”
“We will continue to proactively enforce our rules and review content that may violate Twitter Rules,” the spokesperson added, “specifically policies against the glorification of violence, platform manipulation and spam.”
The situation in Afghanistan is rapidly evolving. We’re also witnessing people in the country using Twitter to seek help and assistance. Twitter’s top priority is keeping people safe, and we remain vigilant: Twitter spokesperson (1/2) pic.twitter.com/wojvGgRqeO
— ANI (@ANI) August 17, 2021
Enter the Washington Post on Wednesday to defend Twitter. The Post published what amounted to a defense of the Taliban’s “strikingly sophisticated” social media prowess and juxtaposed it with Donald Trump’s.
“For a group that espouses ancient moral codes, the Afghan Taliban has used strikingly sophisticated social media tactics to build political momentum and, now that they’re in power, to make a public case that they’re ready to lead a modern nation state after nearly 20 years of war,” two of the Post’s technology reporters wrote.
“The answer, analysts said, may simply be that Trump’s posts for years challenged platform rules against hate speech and inciting violence,” the piece adds. “Today’s Taliban, by and large, does not.”
Ah, okay — so Twitter should totally keep an organization on its platform to spread propaganda and recruit because …why again? The Taliban’s actions, not its words, need to be taken into account here, because its words and actions contradict each another.
Just this week, the Taliban reportedly killed a woman in Kabul for the crime of not wearing a burqa. Women and children are being whipped and beaten in the streets. Young girls are reportedly being forced to marry Taliban fighters. Anyone rumored to have worked with the U.S. is being executed. Proof? Due process? You’re kidding, right?
Given those facts, how does Twitter justify allowing the Taliban to remain on its platform, which will only make it more powerful?
Perhaps predictably, the Washington Post’s defense got torched on social media.
Trump Sneaks Back On Twitter By Disguising Self As Taliban Spokesperson https://t.co/L3suXAJRmZ
— The Babylon Bee (@TheBabylonBee) August 17, 2021
Meanwhile back in Silicon Valley:https://t.co/Op5ifo5IAz
— Tim Murtaugh (@TimMurtaugh) August 17, 2021
Good to know we’ll be able to receive regular updates from the new Taliban government on Twitter, but to get updates from Donald Trump you’ll have to go elsewhere https://t.co/nlfVgfpF13
— Michael Tracey (@mtracey) August 16, 2021
Just a reminder that Twitter has decided it’s okay for the taliban to have a Twitter account but Trump can’t
— Caleb Hull (@CalebJHull) August 16, 2021
The Taliban can communicate on Twitter but President Trump can’t.
Very cool, @jack.
— ACTforAmerica (@ACTforAmerica) August 17, 2021
The Taliban remains on Twitter. The 45th president is banned, likely for life. Agree or disagree with Trump, there is something very, very wrong with this.
Joe Concha is a media and politics columnist for The Hill and a Fox News contributor.