In a news conference Tuesday in Kabul, a Taliban spokesman dismissed a question about censorship amid the forming of a new government in Afghanistan, redirecting the question to the U.S. and Facebook as proponents of censorship of free speech.
"This question should be asked to those people who are claiming to be promoters of freedom of speech, who do not allow publication of all information," spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid responded to a question about freedom of speech in the new government, according to a translation. "I can ask Facebook company. This question should be asked to them."
Notably, the Taliban mentioned Facebook on censoring of free speech and not Twitter. Twitter has permitted Taliban leaders to remain on the platform.
Facebook, however, issued a statement to the BBC that Taliban accounts will continue to be banned.
"The Taliban is sanctioned as a terrorist organization under U.S. law and we have banned them from our services under our Dangerous Organization policies," a Facebook spokesman told the BBC on Monday night. "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 Afghanistan experts, who are native Dari and Pashto speakers and have knowledge of local context, helping to identify and alert us to emerging issues on the platform."
The irony was noted by former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik, a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump. Trump remains banned on myriad U.S. social media platforms, while the Taliban are given license to speak freely on Twitter after their insurrection of Kabul and the U.S.-backed former Afghanistan government.
Kerik tweeted Tuesday:
"How ironic is it that when one of the Taliban leaders is asked if they will allow free speech, he refers them to Facebook and Twitter and recommends that the press speak to them. The USA is being chastised about free speech by the [expletive] Taliban. #Insanity"
Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., issued a letter to Twitter and its CEO Jack Dorsey on the "double standard" of permitting Taliban speech, but blocking a U.S. president.
Lamborn tweeted Tuesday with a copy of the letter:
"Breaking I sent a letter to @Jack over @Twitter's blatant speech bias & double standards. Why does Twitter allow two Taliban spokesmen to have a platform but restricts the First Amendment Rights of former President Trump? It's past time to hold #BigTech accountable. #Taliban"
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