In an unexpected turn of events, the Taliban has shown support for Elon Musk and Twitter while criticizing Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta (formerly Facebook). Anas Haqqani, a Taliban leader, took to Twitter to express admiration for Musk and praised the platform’s commitment to freedom of speech.
Highlighting the advantages of Twitter, Haqqani tweeted, “Twitter has two important advantages over other social media platforms. The first privilege is the freedom of speech. The second privilege is the public nature & credibility of Twitter. Twitter doesn’t have an intolerant policy like Meta. Other platforms cannot replace it.”
The reason behind the Taliban’s preference for Twitter over Meta is quite straightforward. Facebook has designated the Taliban as a “Tier 1 designated terrorist organization” according to their policies. This classification restricts the Taliban leaders from freely sharing their views on the platform. On the contrary, Twitter seems to provide them with a relatively greater freedom of expression, allowing them to communicate their message openly and reach a wider audience.
It’s worth noting that while the Taliban’s support for freedom of speech may seem opportunistic given their policies in Afghanistan, they do enjoy a certain level of freedom in expressing themselves on Twitter. The group maintains an active Twitter account called ‘Islamic Emirate Afg’ with a considerable following of around 35,000 users. Their posts, predominantly in the Urdu language, allow them to disseminate their message more openly.
In contrast, searching for the term “Taliban” on Facebook raises concerns. The platform displays a warning message asking users to confirm their search due to the association of the term with dangerous individuals and organizations. Facebook has implemented measures to limit or prevent Taliban-related content, demonstrating active monitoring and regulation aligned with their policies against such content.
While the Taliban’s support for Twitter resonates with their goals, not all Twitter users are content with Elon Musk’s leadership of the platform. Since assuming control, Musk has significantly downsized the Twitter workforce, resulting in a substantial loss of jobs. He has also introduced changes that have been met with criticism, such as prioritizing paid subscribers and implementing rate limits that affect user experience.
On the other hand, Mark Zuckerberg’s Threads, a rival platform to Twitter, has experienced significant growth. Within a short period, Threads has amassed over 100 million users, aided by its integration with Instagram. To celebrate this milestone, Zuckerberg expressed his surprise and satisfaction, stating, “Threads reached 100 million sign-ups over the weekend. That’s mostly organic demand, and we haven’t even turned on many promotions yet. Can’t believe it’s only been 5 days.”
As the dynamics between social media platforms and user preferences evolve, it is interesting to observe the diverse reactions and alliances that emerge. The Taliban’s support for Elon Musk and Twitter underscores the complex interplay of politics, technology, and freedom of speech in the digital age.