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Should big tech be giving a social media megaphone to the Taliban?

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Facebook, Twitter and Google have come under fire yet again as they must choose whether to censor the Taliban as it retakes Afghanistan

In the debate on censorship and civic duty, big tech is encountering a high-stakes question: whether it should censor the Taliban.

Facebook, Twitter and Google currently have bans in place to prevent the Taliban from creating accounts on their platforms.

But as the Taliban takes over Afghanistan, big tech must choose whether to block the country’s official state social media channels.

Facebook says that it’s likely to take cues from the US government and other global leaders

It still remains unclear whether the US will recognise the Taliban as Afghanistan’s official government.

US President Biden is unlikely to take this route unless the Taliban publicly severs ties from terrorist groups like al-Qaeda.

The Taliban has already promised to protect the rights of minorities and women, but this remains to be seen.

How are Facebook, Google and Twitter handling the situation?

Facebook has said that it will continue to ban content from the Taliban so far as the US continues to classify the group as a dangerous terror organisation. The platform also removes any posts which explicitly praise the group.

Google, which owns Youtube, has banned the Taliban from operating accounts. User content which promotes the Taliban can be flagged for inciting violence or spreading hate speech.

Meanwhile, Twitter doesn’t yet have a specific policy to outline how it will respond to the Taliban other than those generally prohibiting posts that glorify violence.

Was leaving Afghanistan a good decision?

A new Taliban, or just propaganda?

If big tech gives the Taliban the green pass, concerns are that the group will use the platforms to spread propaganda.

The Taliban has already started trying to effectively re-brand itself, pledging to build an ‘inclusive government’ earlier this week.

It said this new government would protect the rights of women and minorities “within the bounds of sharia law”.

During the Taliban’s occupation of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, its interpretation of Sharia laws included stoning or executing women who refused to comply with the regime.

Would banning the Taliban from social media lead to more harm?

Another major concern is that more aggressive censorship against the Taliban could limit global discourse about affairs in Afghanistan.

Faiza Patel from the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty & National Security program raised concerns about entirely censoring the group.

“How does that constrain political discourse on Facebook if you literally cannot talk about the Taliban except to criticise them?”

“I know most of us are probably going to be criticizing the Taliban, but there are obvious objective conversations that you can have about what it means” for Afghanistan.

It remains yet to be seen whether the group will honour its promise of protecting the rights of all Afghans, and what role big tech will have to play moving forward.

Natasha is an Associate Producer at ticker NEWS with a Bachelor of arts from Monash University. She has previously worked at Sky News Australia and Monash University as an Online Content Producer.

Business

Food delivery drone crashes into powerlines

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Thousands of people have been left without power after a food delivery drone crashed into powerlines

Power was restored after 45 minutes after the drone made a pre-cautionary landing.

‘Wing’ is the company behind the incident who use drones for their food delivery services.

A spokesperson for Energex, the company who supplies power to the 300-affected homes says drones can be dangerous.

It’s believed these instances are very rare and the meal was still hot when emergency crews arrived at the scene.

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Meta’s hiring freeze a result of economic slowdown

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Meta’s hiring freeze is the latest indication that even tech giants are feeling the pinch of the struggling economy

META’S HIRING FREEZE | Meta’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg has told employees the company is going on a “hiring freeze.”

He says there might also be more layoffs in the future and pointed the blame at the global economy and Apple.

Meta’s revenue has been taking a hit because of the global economic slowdown, and Apple’s recent change to its ad tracking policies hasn’t helped matters either.

Mark Zuckerberg

As a result, Meta’s stock price has plunged more than 50% this year.

In May, Zuckerberg warned that Meta might have to make some “tough choices” in the form of layoffs.

But by June, he sounded more optimistic, saying that Meta was “well-positioned” to weather the economic storm.

Now it looks like those tough choices are finally being made.

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Apple exec fired over crude TikTok video

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Apple’s vice president of procurement, Tony Blevins, has been fired from the company after his crude remarks in a TikTok interview went viral

Apple has fired its vice president of procurement, Tony Blevins for making crude comments in a viral TikTok video.

It all started with an interview that went horribly wrong. Creator Daniel Mac posted a video where he asked Blevins what he does for a living, and Blevins response didn’t reference anything respectable.

“I race cars and play golf and fondle big-breasted women. But I take weekends But I take weekends and major holidays off,” Blevins replied.

The video has been viewed over 1.3 million times.

The video didn’t identify Blevins by name and didn’t reference his position at Apple, though Blevins does note that his job offers “a hell of a dental plan.”

But Apple moved quickly to fire Blevins, saying the comments don’t align with their values and respect of women.

Apple is known for being a family-friendly company, so it’s no surprise that they wouldn’t want an employee making crude jokes on TikTok.

This just goes to show that you should be careful what you say on social media.

Ton Blevins

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