How Pakistani Taliban Is Like Facebook

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The Pakistani government's relationship with the country's various insurgent groups, sometimes described generally under the broad term  "Taliban," is complicated. Pakistan actively fights some, turns a blind eye to others, and is often accused of secretly backing some groups. What's less complicated is the Pakistani government's relationship with Facebook: The social networking site was blocked nationwide on Wednesday because of a single Facebook group that invites users to submit humorous drawing of the prophet Mohammad, a violation of Islamic law. Nitin Pai, a prominent Indian journalist and blogger, takes the opportunity to compare and contrast.

  • What Facebook Can Learn From Name-Changing Insurgent Groups  "Dear Facebook: if the Pakistani govt bans you, you only have to resurface under a new name."
  • Pakistan Tougher on Facebook Than Terrorist Associates  "What's the difference between Facebook and [terrorist-associated group] Jamaat-ud-Dawa? Ans: Facebook is banned in Pakistan."
  • How Facebook Is Like Pakistani Terror Groups  "What's common to Facebook and Lashkar-e-Taiba? Ans: They are both banned in Pakistan, but Pakistanis can still find them if they want to."
  • 'Good Facebook and Bad Facebook'  Indian journalist Sidin Vadukut riffs off the oft-repeated claim that Pakistan can support certain insurgents because there is a "good" Taliban and a "bad" Taliban. He tweets, "Yes but why don't Pakistanis get that there is good Facebook and bad Facebook?"
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.