Report: Taliban Buying Blue Ticks on Twitter

    Photo: AFP [via BBC]

    The Facts

    • On Monday, BBC reported that at least two senior Taliban leaders and four of its supporters are using Twitter's paid-for verification feature, acquiring blue ticks next to their user names.

    • The senior Taliban leaders are identified as the head of the Taliban's department for access to information, Hedayatullah Hedayat, and the head of the media watchdog at the Afghan Ministry of Information and Culture, Abdul Haq Hammad.

    The Spin

    Pro-establishment narrative

    Twitter's leniency toward the Taliban threatens to glorify violence and legitimize human rights abuses in Afghanistan. By allowing Taliban-affiliated accounts to use its platform, Musk potentially perpetuates extrajudicial killings, arbitrary arrests and torture, systematic segregation of women in Afghanistan, and the war on freedom.

    Establishment-critical narrative

    The Taliban may not be considered the legitimate rulers of Afghanistan by the international community, but they have a right to a social media apparatus to counter what they consider Western propaganda. Musk's Blue Tick services don't promote Taliban messages, they simply allow community members to form their own opinions.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 46% chance that Afghanistan will be used as a base for anti-NATO terrorism by 2026, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



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