Taliban to Open YouTube Channel

The Taliban are readying for their next big offensive in the most crucial front in their nihilistic war against modernity. The propaganda war has long been understood by al Qaeda, now the Taliban have decided they need to play catch up.

The biggest tool in the propaganda war? YouTube. Operatic irony on display.

Daily Times:

The Taliban are preparing to launch a propaganda offensive with greater (global) outreach by arming some of its members with requisite skills to upload videos on websites such as YouTube.

“The real war is the media war,” Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan chief Baitullah Mehsud told Daily Times. “It is our desire to learn also how one should fight the media war.” ...

“The Taliban have not been very advanced as far as the media war is concerned. But we are making efforts to catch up with the latest methods, and we will soon be available on YouTube,” a non-Pashtun and non-combatant member of the Taliban’s media cell told Daily Times, his face covered up to evade the identifying gaze of invited lenses.

I started this blog as a response to the al Qaeda propaganda war at a time when very few understood its centrality to the long term goals of terrorists. Over the past several years I've seen international policymakers slowly coming to understand how the internet is used by terrorists to garner sympathy, recruit, raise funds, and coordinate attacks.

What I've always found odd, though, is how so many who are willing to kill members of al Qaeda finding it more morally troublesome to censor them. As if taking the bullhorn out of the hands of terrorists is somehow worse than killing them.

Worse, private companies such as YouTube refuse to actively police the way their platform is used as a tool for terrorists and internationally outlawed organizations such as the Taliban. Instead they rely on community flagging, as if sufficient numbers of non-jihad sympathizers are actively punching in searches for "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan" rather than "Lindsay Lohan nude". And when such videos don't include violent images but are limited to long discourses on fighting the infidels, one might argue that they don't actually violate YouTube's Terms of Service (TOS) agreement.

The method becomes even more problematic when a jihadi organization, such as the Taliban, has their own YouTube channel. Videos are flagged as inappropriate, not channels or users. Just try to lodge a complaint against a user at YouTube and you'll run into all sorts of headaches. Videos may occasionally be removed for TOS violations, but account suspensions are a rarity.

I wish there was some sort of wrap up point I could make here, but there isn't. No good news on the horizon, nor some words of outrage that might muster some kind of action. I'm afraid YouTube is just a lost cause.

Posted by: Rusty at 01:46 PM

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