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Facebook Blocks Taliban Controlled Media Pages

Facebook has blocked the accounts of at least two state-owned media outlets in Afghanistan.

 The company, in a statement on Thursday,  explained that  its action was in compliance with laws in the United States listing the Taliban as a “terrorist organisation”.

The Taliban have made liberal use of Facebook and Twitter since August last year, and have  maintained a firm grip on state-owned media in the country including radio,  TV stations, and newspapers.

While Facebook parent Meta did not list the banned media outlets, state broadcaster National Radio Television Afghanistan (RTA) and the government-owned Bakhtar news agency both said that they had been blocked.

The Facebook pages of privately owned media houses seemed unaffected.

“The Taliban is sanctioned as a terrorist organisation under U.S. law and they are banned from using our services. We remove accounts maintained by or on behalf of the Taliban and prohibit praise, support, and representation of them”, a Meta spokesperson told AFP in a statement.

Rescting to the development, Government spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid, said  the action of Facebook showed “impatience and intolerance”.

“The slogan ‘Freedom of expression’ is used to deceive other nations”, he tweeted.

RTA director Ahmadullah Wasiq said in a video statement that the Pashto and Dari-language pages of the organisation on Facebook and Instagram had been closed “for unknown reasons”.

“RTA is a national institution — the voice of the nation”,  he said.

In a tweet on Thursday, he  said “The only goal of this news agency is to share accurate, timely and comprehensive information to its audiences.”

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