How the Taliban have started buying blue ticks on Elon Musk’s Twitter


Twitter is turning into a extra harmful place. The Taliban, which has at all times had a presence on the microblogging website, at the moment are they’re gunning for a blue tick, the verification function.

At least two Taliban officers and 4 of its supporters in Afghanistan have the blue checkmark, in response to the BBC.

How did the Taliban get the blue tick?

Before Elon Musk took over Twitter, the blue tick indicated handles verified by Twitter. It was reserved for “active, notable, and authentic accounts of public interest”.

But amongst the huge modifications that Musk ushered in was paying for the verification function. The checkmark may be bought via the new Twitter Blue service, which was made accessible in December.

Also learn: What Taliban takeover in Afghanistan means for India, different stakeholders

Which Taliban officers have a blue tick?

Hedayatullah Hedayat, the head of the Taliban’s division for “access to information”, has a verified account. He has 1,87,000 followers and reportedly posts details about the Taliban authorities in Afghanistan.

Hedayat’s blue tick was eliminated final month however has now returned, in response to the BBC.

Another Taliban account with a blue tick belongs to Abdul Haq Hammad, a senior official at the Afghan ministry of knowledge and tradition. He has 1,70,000 followers on Twitter and his bio says he’s an “Islamic scholar and political analyst”.

While Twitter warns you that the profiles would possibly comprise “potentially sensitive content”, it permits customers to view them.

Supporters of the Taliban have additionally paid for the verified checkmark. Muhammad Jalala, who was beforehand recognized as a Taliban official, has 85,500 followers on Twitter and his posts endorse the authorities in Afghanistan. Praising Musk, Jalal mentioned that the billionaire was “making Twitter great again”, the report says.

Explained How the Taliban have started buying blue ticks on Elon Musks Twitter

Twitter had a lenient coverage towards the Taliban. As of 8 May 2022, its content material reached greater than 3.Three million accounts. AFP

How will the Taliban profit from the blue tick?

Twitter Blue service is accessible for $Eight a month on the net or $11 per thirty days on iOS. All it wants is for the account to be 90 days outdated and have a confirmed telephone quantity.

Those who have paid for the verification get “priority ranking in search, mentions, and replies” to assist battle spam and bots, in response to Twitter.

After the Taliban returned to energy in August 2021, it took over verified accounts which have been operated by the earlier Afghanistan authorities. This included the deal with of the Afghanistan Cricket Board, which now carries a gold tick, the BBC stories.

Also learn: From supporting Taliban to frame clashes: How did Pakistan’s ‘strategic depth policy’ in Afghanistan backfire?

Are the Taliban new to Twitter?

Members of the Taliban have at all times been on Twitter and have used the platform to ship out messages.

On 15 August 2021, after the hardline Islamic group captured Kabul, a spokesperson of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the Taliban’s self-proclaimed state, took to Twitter to make the announcement. “With the help of God, and the support of the nation, we are now in control of all parts of the country. We would like to congratulate our nation on this big achievement,” it mentioned.

The Afghan Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid has an energetic account with greater than 7,89,300 followers.

A analysis paper titled, “Powered by Twitter? The Taliban’s Takeover of Afghanistan”, studied the exercise of 63 accounts claimed by the Taliban management, spokespersons, and avowed members from 1 April to 16 September 2021. These accounts had greater than two million followers on Twitter in September 2021. As of 8 May 2022, Taliban content material reached greater than 3.Three million accounts, the paper reveals. More than 1,26,000 Twitter accounts both retweeted Taliban content material or posted content material subsequently shared by the Taliban’s core community.

Explained How the Taliban have started buying blue ticks on Elon Musks Twitter

In this picture taken on 6 February 2019, an Afghan reporter browses the Twitter web page of Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid in the newsroom at Maiwand TV station in Kabul. Mujahid continues to be energetic on Twitter with greater than 7,89,300 followers. AFP

How are the Taliban on Twitter?

According to The Guardian, the Taliban will not be on the US state division’s record of overseas terrorist organisations. This is what most social media platforms flip to when deciding which teams ought to be banned. However, they’re on the US treasury’s record of “specially designated global terrorists”, which topics them to Office of Foreign Assets Control sanctions.

The Taliban presence on Twitter has obtained flak from US Republicans. While Donald Trump was banned from the social media platform after the 6 January Capitol riots, members of the Taliban continued to entry it.

The former US president mentioned in October 2021, “We live in a world where the Taliban has a huge presence on Twitter, yet your favourite American President has been silenced.”

In July final yr, Afghans referred to as for a ban on the Taliban on Twitter. The hashtag “Ban Taliban” gained vital traction in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, Europe and India, in addition to the United States of America.

According to Afghan Peace Watch, amongst the advocates have been Afghan journalists and civil activists urging Twitter to disclaim entry to all Taliban members on Twitter, owing to the group’s spreading of misinformation and interesting in dangerous content material, together with requires violence and beheading, in addition to help for terrorists.

Explained How the Taliban have started buying blue ticks on Elon Musks Twitter

Afghans have referred to as for a ban on the Taliban on Twitter due to their inhuman insurance policies however the social media platform has accomplished little about it. AFP

Do the Taliban use different social media accounts?

After the Taliban got here to energy, many social media corporations revisited their insurance policies on pro-Taliban accounts. However, Twitter determined to permit Taliban-affiliated accounts to proceed utilizing its platform regardless of its insurance policies towards the glorification of violence and menace.

Facebook has banned the Taliban from its platform for years. It reportedly operates a secret record of “designated organisations” and people glorifying them may end up in person accounts being banned.

“The Taliban is sanctioned as a terrorist organisation under US law and they are banned from Facebook and Instagram under our dangerous organisation policies. This means we remove accounts maintained by or on behalf of the Taliban and prohibit praise, support and representation of them. We also have a dedicated team of regional experts helping to identify and alert us to emerging issues on the platform,” a Facebook spokesperson had mentioned after the Taliban takeover.

YouTube took down all Taliban content material in response to US sanctions regulation. “[I]f we find an account believed to be owned and operated by the Afghan Taliban, we terminate it. Further, our policies prohibit content that incites violence,” a YouTube spokesperson informed Recode in an e-mail in August 2021.

With inputs from companies

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