Terrorists paid X for blue check, report finds

Nasrallah, the Houthis and other terrorist organizations paid for premium X accounts that gave them verification marks, increased exposure and access to advanced features, according to the Tech Transparency Project, an alleged violation of American sanctions; X removed some of the verification marks

The social network X, formerly Twitter, received money from terrorists and terrorist organizations in alleged violation of the sanctions imposed on them by the American government, according to a report published Wednesday by the Tech Transparency Project.
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The report shows that 28 accounts – including those of the terrorist organizations Hezbollah, the Houthis and their leaders – paid X for premium subscriptions that gave them a blue or gold verification mark, access to advanced features and increased exposure. This is allegedly a violation of the sanctions that Washington has imposed on these organizations, which prohibit, among other things, financial transactions with them.
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אילון מאסק וחסן נסראללה
אילון מאסק וחסן נסראללה
Elon Musk's X platform gave a blue verification check to Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah
( Photos: Michael M. Santiago / Getty Images, Hussein Malla/ AP)
“We were surprised to find that X was providing premium services to a wide range of groups the U.S. has sanctioned for terrorism and other activities that harm its national security,” Katie Paul, the director of the Tech Transparency Project, told the New York Times. “It’s yet another sign that X has lost control of its platform.”
In the past, Twitter gave a free verification token, or a blue check, to public figures whose identity was verified by the platform, but since Elon Musk purchased the social network any user can pay $8 a month to receive a verification token that gives them access to advanced features and increases the user's exposure on the platform. Many of the users who spread disinformation and fake news about the war in Gaza, for example, have a blue check, which even allows them to receive a share of X's revenue from advertisements that appear alongside their posts.
Since Elon Musk purchased the social network any user can pay $8 a month to receive a verification token that gives them access to advanced features and increases the user's exposure on the platform
One of the users who apparently paid X $8 a month for a blue check is Hassan Nasrallah, secretary general of the terrorist organization Hezbollah. According to the report, Nasrallah started paying for a premium account in November 2023 and he frequently posts messages and memes mocking the U.S. and Israel to his 93,000 followers. His account is marked being ID verified, meaning he forwarded a photo of himself to X. Naim Qassem, Nasrallah's right-hand man, also paid for account with a blue check.
According to the report, the Yemeni terrorist organization Ansar Allah, more commonly known as the Houthis, also has an X account with a blue check. The account was created in March 2015 and "verified" by X last month - weeks after the U.S. officially designated the Houthis as a terrorist organization following its attacks on cargo ships in the Red Sea, which are supported by Iran.
Following the publication of the report, X removed the verification marks from some of the accounts, including those of Nasrallah and his deputy, as well as the Houthis. The account of the terrorist organization Nujaba was suspended on the platform. X said in response to the report that “X has a robust and secure approach in place for our monetization features, adhering to legal obligations, along with independent screening by our payments providers. Several of the accounts listed in the Tech Transparency Report are not directly named on sanction lists, while some others may have visible account check marks without receiving any services that would be subject to sanctions. Our teams have reviewed the report and will take action as necessary. We are always committed to maintaining a secure platform that complies with the law."
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