Wall Street Journal: Islamic State Turns to NFTs to Spread Terror Message

Wall Street Journal: Islamic State Turns to NFTs to Spread Terror Message. “A simple digital card praising Islamist militants for an attack on a Taliban position in Afghanistan last month is the first known nonfungible token created and disseminated by a terrorist sympathizer, according to former senior U.S. intelligence officials. It is a sign that Islamic State and other terror groups may be preparing to use the emerging financial technology to sidestep Western efforts to eradicate their online fundraising and messaging, they said.”

New Jersey Institute of Technology: Use of Twitter Helped Taliban Regain Control in Afghanistan, Researchers Find

New Jersey Institute of Technology: Use of Twitter Helped Taliban Regain Control in Afghanistan, Researchers Find. “Twitter was a strategic tool for Taliban operations in overthrowing the Afghanistan leadership during the country’s civil war, and some accounts associated with the oppressive group triggered the company’s algorithms to promote ads for well-known Western brands, researchers from New Jersey Institute of Technology, Princeton University and University of Regina found.”

ANI: Afghan newspapers go online due to financial crisis

ANI: Afghan newspapers go online due to financial crisis. “The Afghanistan National Journalists’ Union on Wednesday reported that due to the financial crisis, around 150 print media outlets across Afghanistan have stopped printing newspapers and magazines since the fall of the former government, reported Tolo News. Watchdog organizations recently said the Afghan media outlets are running out of funds and face a lack of information under the Taliban. Many Afghan outlets continue publishing news online, while some have shut down completely.”

CNN: The Taliban’s social media dilemma

CNN: The Taliban’s social media dilemma. “…even as the Taliban presses for US forces to leave the country, it remains reliant on American social media companies such as Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR) to get its message out, both within Afghanistan and beyond its borders. On Twitter, for example, multiple Taliban spokesmen, including Mujahid and Suhail Shaheen, have active, unverified accounts, each with more than 300,000 followers. But many of those platforms, including Facebook and its subsidiary WhatsApp, have said they will crack down on accounts run by or promoting the Taliban.”

Upworthy: Meme artist raises more than $2 million in 5 hours to rescue Afghans on Taliban kill list

Upworthy: Meme artist raises more than $2 million in 5 hours to rescue Afghans on Taliban kill list. “We’ve all spent several days watching the news from Afghanistan with a mixture of horror, sadness, and frustration. Images of crowds of people clamoring to get onto planes at the Kabul airport, human beings clinging to a flying jet before falling to their deaths from the sky, hordes of men, women, and children desperate to escape a violent, extremist regime crammed like sardines into U.S. cargo planes—it’s all too much. We know there are so many people we can’t help. That’s the tragic reality. But there are people we can help. And that’s happening, right now, on the internet and on the ground in Afghanistan.”

CNET: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube face content challenges as Afghanistan falls

CNET: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube face content challenges as Afghanistan falls. “A CNN reporter stands in front of a photo of a helicopter flying over the US embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, a city that has fallen into chaos. Underneath the image, a caption states: ‘Violent but mostly peaceful transfer of power.’ The image, supposedly a screengrab of the network, circulated widely on Facebook, Twitter and other social media, prompting questions about its authenticity. How could the transfer be considered peaceful, some wondered. Was the language meant to be satire? Turns out the image was fake.”

New York Times: Taliban Ramp Up on Social Media, Defying Bans by the Platforms

New York Times: Taliban Ramp Up on Social Media, Defying Bans by the Platforms. “The group’s renewed presence on social media has put Facebook, Twitter and YouTube in a tricky position. With governments around the world trying to figure out whether to officially recognize the Taliban as Afghanistan’s rulers, the companies have no easy answers as to whether to continue barring the group online.”

Ars Technica: WhatsApp shuts down Taliban helpline in Kabul

Ars Technica: WhatsApp shuts down Taliban helpline in Kabul. “WhatsApp has shut down a complaints helpline set up by the Taliban when it took control of Kabul, after the messaging app came under pressure to block the group from using its services. The complaints number was supposed to act as an emergency hotline for civilians to report violence, looting or other problems. The Taliban advertised the helpline on Sunday when it captured the city, and has used similar WhatsApp hotlines in the past, for example when it took over the city of Kunduz in 2016.”

CNET: How the Taliban is using Twitter to ‘fish for legitimacy’ as it reclaims Afghanistan

CNET: How the Taliban is using Twitter to ‘fish for legitimacy’ as it reclaims Afghanistan. “On Monday morning during a live BBC news broadcast, journalist Yalda Hakim was interrupted by a phone call from a Taliban spokesman, Suhail Shaheen. Shaheen sought to reassure Hakim and British viewers watching at home that the the people of Kabul were safe and that the Taliban wouldn’t seek revenge after recapturing the Afghan capital for the first time in 20 years. Shaheen isn’t just calling Western journalists live on air. He is also one of a handful of Taliban representatives on Twitter…”

Bahrain News Agency: Afghans restore art shattered by Taliban as peace deal nears

Bahrain News Agency: Afghans restore art shattered by Taliban as peace deal nears. “The [National Museum of Afghanistan]’s recovery began in earnest in 2004, during the period when the defeated Taliban quietly began to regroup. A few hundred objects have been restored in recent years. Now the museum and the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute are compiling as complete an inventory as possible in the hope of tracking down missing artifacts — and saving a digital record of the collection in case of further threat. That database is more than 99% complete, with more than 135,000 surviving pieces, the Oriental Institute says.”