S2E1: Tackling Taliban Content Online

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In this episode, we’re exploring how the Taliban’s use of the internet and social media has evolved following their takeover of Afghanistan. We also explore how this compares with wider terrorist use of the internet, and the implications for tech companies moderating this content.

Join Anne Craanen as she speaks to Charlie Winter, one of the world’s leading experts on terrorist propaganda. He is Director of Research at ExTrac, an organisation that tracks the real-time attack and communications data of a range of violent extremist organisations, including the Taliban, to provide actionable insights for Counter-terrorism policymakers and practitioners. Charlie is also an Associate Fellow at the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT), studying terrorism, insurgency and innovation, with focus on online and offline strategic communication.

We also hear from Colin P. Clarke, Director of Research at The Soufan Group and a Senior Research Fellow at The Soufan Center. He is an Associate Fellow at the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism (ICCT) – The Hague, and serves on the editorial board of Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, as well as Terrorism and Political Violence. He appears frequently in the media to discuss terrorism and counterterrorism, and received his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.

Arthur Bradley is a Senior Open-source Intelligence Analyst at Tech Against Terrorism and head of content collection for the Terrorist Content Analytics Platform (TCAP), where he works with tech companies and governments across the world in countering terrorist use of the internet using open-source intelligence. Arthur joined Tech Against Terrorism in 2020 after working for several years in security intelligence with a focus on terrorist and violent extremist propaganda.

They explore how the Taliban’s media campaign has become increasingly sophisticated in recent years and uncover why different tech companies have different guidelines when it comes to moderating Taliban content, as well as the ethical implications of removing it. Finally, Anne asks the guests about the implications of the designation of the Taliban as a terrorist entity, both on their content online and on the delivery of humanitarian aid for Afghan civilians.

To find out more about Tech Against Terrorism and our work, visit techagainstterrorism.org or follow us on Twitter @techvsterrorism, where you can find resources on this topic.

Here's where you can learn more about ExTrac’s work: https://extrac.io/

The Soufan Center: https://thesoufancenter.org/

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