Washington Post accused of providing PR to Taliban after arguing group incites less violence than Trump on Twitter
The Washington Post has come under fire after publishing an article insinuating that the Taliban hasn’t been banned from Twitter like former President Donald Trump because it incites less violence in its carefully worded posts.
The headline hails the Taliban’s “sophisticated social media practices that rarely violate the rules.” In the article, reporters Craig Timberg and Cristiano Lima wrote that the Taliban has “used strikingly sophisticated social media tactics to build political momentum” and “make a public case that they’re ready to lead a modern nation state after nearly 20 years of war.”
The reporters also argue that the Taliban – who they described as “a group that espouses ancient” and “traditional moral codes” – has been using messaging on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter that “challenges the West’s dominant image of the group as intolerant, vicious and bent on revenge, while staying within the evolving boundaries of taste” – a tone that some found oddly sympathetic to the terrorist group.Also on rt.com CNN correspondent says there's 'clearly big holes' in Twitter policy, as Taliban use network while Trump is banned
“The tactics overall show such a high degree of skill that analysts believe at least one public relations firm is advising the Taliban,” the Post continued, prompting some to accuse the newspaper of aiding those PR efforts.
Evoking most outrage was the part where the paper suggests, citing experts, that the reason why former President Donald Trump is banned from Twitter and the Taliban is not is because Trump broke the site’s rules “against hate speech and inciting violence” whereas, technically, the “Taliban, by and large, does not.”
Online extremism expert Rita Katz told the newspaper that the Taliban is “threading the needle regarding social media content policies” but “is not yet crossing the very distinct policy-violating lines that Trump crossed.”
And after the article was published, Washington Post technology policy editor Mark Seibel tweeted it with the caption: “Why Trump’s banned and the Taliban aren’t: they play by the rules.”
Seibel was quickly hammered by responses accusing him and the Post of providing public relations to the Taliban through its characterization of the group and insinuation that they incite less violence than the former president of the United States.
I didn't know murdering your enemies, raping women, and torturing those who do not comply was following the rules. This is one of the dumbest takes.— Jacob Airey (@realJacobAirey) August 18, 2021
“They might be bloodthirsty slavers & rapists, but at least they're not rude,” another person responded.
North Carolina Congressman Dan Bishop – a Republican – reacted by referencing the Washington Post’s tagline, ‘Democracy Dies in Darkness’.
Democracy dies in darkness, but not the Taliban apparently. https://t.co/xKWP5qu7ae— Rep. Dan Bishop (@RepDanBishop) August 18, 2021
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