YouTube Says It Does Not Allow Taliban-Affiliated Accounts

The Taliban's return to power has raised fears of a crackdown on freedom of speech and human rights, especially women's rights.

YouTube said it has a long-held policy of not allowing accounts believed to be operated by the Taliban on its site, as social media companies faced questions about how they would handle the group that fast gained control of Afghanistan.

The Taliban’s return to power for the first time in 20 years has raised fears of a crackdown on freedom of speech and human rights, especially women’s rights.

Separately, the Financial Times reported that Facebook Inc’s WhatsApp messaging service has shut down a complaints helpline for Afghans to contact the Taliban, set up by the group after it took control of Kabul on Sunday.

A WhatsApp spokesperson declined to comment on the action but said the service was obligated by US sanctions laws to ban accounts that appear to represent themselves as official accounts of the Taliban.

The complaints number that was an emergency hotline for civilians to report violence, looting or other problems was blocked by Facebook, along with other official Taliban channels, the report said.

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Facebook said it designates the Taliban as a terrorist group and bans it and content supporting it from its platforms. A Taliban spokesman accused Facebook of censorship at a news conference on Tuesday, according to a translation of his remarks in a video clip. YouTube, when asked if it banned the Taliban on Monday, declined to comment.

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