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Twitter hasn’t suspended Afghanistan’s president, but they have suspended two other accounts

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As the Taliban consolidates control over Afghanistan, the debate over whether its accounts should be allowed on social media platforms has intensified.

“BREAKING: Twitter has suspended the account of Afghanistan’s elected President…

And have allowed the Taliban to keep their accounts. Can’t make this up,” reads the text of an Aug. 19 Instagram post. The Instagram post is a screenshot of a tweet by conservative activist Ryan Fournier.

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. Instagram is owned by Facebook. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

In the wake of the U.S. military’s withdrawal, the Taliban has beaten back the Afghan government as the two fight for power over the country. As the situation unfolded, a new Afghan president rose to power, and Twitter suspended two government accounts.

Afghanistan’s new president

Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani fled to the United Arab Emirates as the Taliban closed in on Kabul on Aug. 15, according to CNN. Two days later, Afghanistan’s First Vice President ​​Amrullah Saleh declared himself the “caretaker,” or acting, president.

“As per the constitution of Afghanistan, in absence, escape, resignation or death of the President the FVP (First Vice President) becomes the caretaker President,” Saleh tweeted on Aug. 17. While Afghanistan’s Constitution does not include “escape” or “caretaker” in the English translation, Article 60 allows the first vice president to become president under these circumstances.

The Twitter account Saleh used to tweet this is not suspended as of this writing, and neither is Ghani’s. However, there are two other accounts affiliated with Afghanistan’s president and Saleh’s political party that Twitter has suspended. Twitter suspended the accounts @Afghpresident and @AfgGreenTrend as of Aug. 23.

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In an email with PolitiFact, a spokesperson from Twitter said, “We’re proactively monitoring accounts affiliated with government organizations, and we may temporarily suspend accounts pending additional information from the account holder that allows us to confirm their identity.”

Both of these accounts seem to be legitimate. For example, the Associated Press called @Afghpresident the “de facto official presidential account” of Afghanistan in its reporting on the suspension. The Afghanistan Green Trend party used @AfgGreenTrend to update the public following an attack that injured Saleh and killed at least two others in 2019.

The Instagram post implies that Twitter suspended these accounts to legitimize the Taliban as the rulers of Afghanistan, but there is no evidence of this. There is also no evidence that Twitter suspended the accounts to retaliate against Saleh, as some users and outlets have suggested, since Saleh’s account where he declared himself president is still active.

The Taliban’s Twitter

As for the Taliban’s accounts, representatives from Facebook and YouTube told the New York Times that they consider the Taliban a terrorist organization and forbid the group from operating on their platforms. However, Twitter has taken a different route when dealing with accounts linked to the Taliban.

The Taliban isn’t banned from Twitter, but Twitter’s spokesperson told us they would take action against any content that violates their policies on glorifying violence, abusive behavior, hateful conduct, wishes of harm and gratuitous gore.

One Taliban spokesperson, Suhail Shaheen, has over 390,000 followers and recently tweeted that the group welcomes Afghans who have previously worked with the U.S. or the Afghan government’s administration. The Taliban has promised this before, but some Afghans believe they will be executed if the Taliban finds out about their previous work.

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As the situation in Afghanistan continues to evolve, we’ll have to see whether Twitter will continue to allow the Taliban on their platform or if their accounts break the website’s rules.

According to the Washington Post, the Taliban has been careful to avoid suspension as they use social media to spread propaganda and present an image different from when they were last in power. 

Meanwhile, some on Twitter have asked why the Taliban is permitted on Twitter while former President Donald Trump is not. Twitter permanently suspended Trump for tweets he sent after the riot at the Capitol.

Our ruling

An Instagram post claimed that “Twitter has suspended the account of Afghanistan’s elected President and have allowed the Taliban to keep their accounts.”

Twitter has not suspended the accounts of either acting president Amrullah Saleh or his predecessor Ashraf Ghani.


The two Twitter accounts @Afghpresident and @AfgGreenTrend are currently suspended. Twitter likely suspended the accounts pending verification of who controls them.

Taliban spokespeople have active accounts on Twitter, but they have not broken any of Twitter’s rules and are still allowed on the platform.

We rate this claim Half True.

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TWITTER

Jack Dorsey Post Twitter Is Chasing His Crypto, Fintech Dream

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At a packed Miami conference in June, Jack Dorsey, mused in front of thousands of attendees about where his real passion lay: “If I weren’t at Square or Twitter, I’d be working on Bitcoin.”

On Monday, Dorsey made good on one part of that, announcing he would leave Twitter for the second time, handing the CEO position to a 10-year veteran at the firm. The 45-year-old entrepreneur, who is often described as an enigma with varied interests from meditation to yoga to fashion design, plans to pursue his passion which include focusing on running Square and doing more philanthropic work, according to a source familiar with his plan.

Well before the surprise news, Dorsey had laid the groundwork for his next chapter, seeding both companies with cryptocurrency-related projects.

Underlying Dorsey’s broader vision is the principle of “decentralisation,” or the idea that technology and finance should not be concentrated among a handful of gatekeepers, as it is now, but should, instead, be steered by the hands of the many, either people or entities.

The concept has played out at Square, which has built a division devoted to working on projects and awarding grants with the aim of growing Bitcoin’s popularity globally. Bitcoin price in India stood at Rs. 44.52 lakh as of 12:50pm IST on December 1.

Dorsey has been a longtime proponent of Bitcoin, and the appeal is that the cryptocurrency will allow for private and secure transactions with the value of Bitcoin unrelated to any government.

The idea has also underpinned new projects at Twitter, where Dorsey tapped a top lieutenant – and now the company’s new CEO Parag Agrawal – to oversee a team that is attempting to construct a decentralised social media protocol, which will allow different social platforms to connect with one another, similar to the way email providers operate.

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The project called Bluesky will aim to allow users control over the types of content they see online, removing the “burden” on companies like Twitter to enforce a global policy to fight abuse or misleading information, Dorsey said in 2019 when he announced Bluesky.

Bitcoin has also figured prominently at both of his companies. Square became one of the first public companies to own Bitcoin assets on its balance sheet, having invested $220 million (roughly Rs. 1,650 crore) in the cryptocurrency.

In August, Square created a new business unit called TBD to focus on Bitcoin. The company is also planning to build a hardware wallet for Bitcoin, a Bitcoin mining system, as well as a decentralised Bitcoin exchange.

Twitter allows users to tip their favourite content creators with Bitcoin and has been testing integrations with non-fungible tokens (NFTs), a type of digital asset that allows people to collect unique digital art.

Analysts see the transition as a positive signal for Square, the fintech platform he co-founded in 2009. Square’s core Cash App, after a bull run in its share in 2020, has experienced slower growth in the most recent quarter. It is also trying to digest the $29 billion (roughly Rs. 2,17,240 crore) acquisition of Buy Now Pay Later provider Afterpay, its largest acquisition ever.

But these ambitions will not pay off until years from now, analysts cautioned.

“The blockchain platform they’re trying to develop is great but also fraught with technical challenges and difficult to scale for consumers. I think he’ll focus more on Square and crypto will be part of that,” said Christopher Brendler, an analyst at DA Davidson.

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© Thomson Reuters 2021


Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

Cryptocurrency is an unregulated digital currency, not a legal tender and subject to market risks. The information provided in the article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, trading advice or any other advice or recommendation of any sort offered or endorsed by NDTV. NDTV shall not be responsible for any loss arising from any investment based on any perceived recommendation, forecast or any other information contained in the article.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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Twitter Bans Sharing Personal Photos, Videos of Other People Without Consent

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Twitter launched new rules Tuesday blocking users from sharing private images of other people without their consent, in a tightening of the network’s policy just a day after it changed CEOs.

Under the new rules, people who are not public figures can ask Twitter to take down pictures or video of them that they report were posted without permission.

Beginning today, we will not allow the sharing of private media, such as images or videos of private individuals without their consent. Publishing people’s private info is also prohibited under the policy, as is threatening or incentivizing others to do so.https://t.co/7EXvXdwegG

— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) November 30, 2021

Twitter said this policy does not apply to “public figures or individuals when media and accompanying tweet text are shared in the public interest or add value to public discourse.”

“We will always try to assess the context in which the content is shared and, in such cases, we may allow the images or videos to remain on the service,” the company added.

The right of Internet users to appeal to platforms when images or data about them are posted by third parties, especially for malicious purposes, has been debated for years.

Twitter already prohibited the publication of private information such as a person’s phone number or address, but there are “growing concerns” about the use of content to “harass, intimidate, and reveal the identities of individuals,” Twitter said.

The company noted a “disproportionate effect on women, activists, dissidents, and members of minority communities.”

High-profile examples of online harassment include the barrages of racist, sexist,and homophobic abuse on Twitch, the world’s biggest video game streaming site.

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But instances of harassment abound, and victims must often wage lengthy fights to see hurtful, insulting or illegally produced images of themselves removed from the online platforms.

Some Twitter users pushed the company to clarify exactly how the tightened policy would work.

“Does this mean that if I take a picture of, say, a concert in Central Park, I need the permission of everyone in it? We diminish the sense of the public to the detriment of the public,” tweeted Jeff Jarvis, a journalism professor at the City University of New York.

The change came the day after Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey announced he was leaving the company, and handed CEO duties to company executive Parag Agrawal.

The platform, like other social media networks, has struggled against bullying, misinformation, and hate-fuelled content.


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Twitter likely to roll out ‘Reactions’ feature soon

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After unveiling several features this year, micro-blogging site Twitter is reportedly readying new features, including Reactions, Downvotes and Sorted Replies for iOS users.

According to reverse engineer Nima Owji, the Reactions feature, which started being tested a couple of months ago, is set to launch soon, reports 9To5Mac.

With four new reactions, “tears of joy,” “thinking face,” “clapping hands” and “crying face,” this feature is designed to give users the ability to better show how conversations make them feel and to give users “a better understanding of how their Tweets are received”.

Citing the reverse engineer, the report also mentioned that the micro-blogging site is now able to store data about the downvotes feature, which is another indicator that this function will be released sooner rather than later.

The report also notes that the company changed the downvote position as well. It has even added a new tab explaining how downvotes work.

This month, the company has rolled out its in-app tipping feature to all Android users above the age of 18, following the iOS launch in September.

Twitter said the “Tips” feature is geared toward users looking to get a little financial support from their followers through Cash App, PayPal, Venmo and Patreon directly through the app.

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