US calls on Twitter to ban accounts spreading militant propaganda

Move part of a wider attempt to limit space accorded to militant organisations on the internet, social media.


Express December 26, 2011

The US has called on the social micro-blogging site, Twitter, to clamp down on accounts which post propaganda content from the Taliban, the Telegraph reported on Sunday.

The Senate committee on Homeland Security, headed by senator Joe Lieberman, claim the move is part of a wider campaign to limit the space accorded to violent extremists propaganda on the internet and Social Media.

The Taliban had embraced social media posting regular updates on attacks, official statements from their leaders, and propaganda. They also upload videos of militant training, sermons by prominent members Taliban. It is believed they also use the sites to scour for new recruits.

Some of the accounts used include @ABalkhi, which has more than 4,100 followers. Another is @alemarahweb, which has more than 6,200 followers. Both claim to be official websites of the "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan".

Twitter however declined to offer a reaction on the story. Rachel Bremer, a spokesman for Twitter, said: "This isn't something we'd comment on."

In 2008, Lieberman had Google revisit its hosting policies to limit accounts belonging to the Taliban and the al Qaeda.

Leslie Phillips, a spokesman for the senate homeland security committee, said: "Senator Lieberman's efforts to eliminate violent extremism propaganda from the internet and social media has been a campaign of persuasion."

Earlier this month, US Vice President Joe Biden had said that the Taliban per se were not enemies of US. Suggesting the Taliban only represented an inherent threat if it allowed al Qaeda to strike against the US, the Vice President said, “That’s critical. There is not a single statement that the president has ever made in any of our policy assertions that the Taliban is our enemy because it threatens US interests.”

While talking to The Express Tribune, Taliban spokesperson, Zabiullah Mehsud explained the use of Twitter by the Taliban, “We trained our mujahideen in the use of (modern) media at scattered places in Afghanistan," adding they were not against modernity.

(Read: From medieval Taliban to a tech-savvy militia)

COMMENTS (5)

tsunami | 9 years ago | Reply

@Roflcopter: @abdussamad: funny guys!!

Shehryar | 9 years ago | Reply

@roflcopter, abdussamad: freedom of speech doesn't (and shouldn't) apply when inciting hatred and bloodshed. It's a bit like arguing for freedom of speech to scream 'bomb' on an airplane..

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