X Taking Payments From Terrorists

The social media platform  X has been accused by campaigners of ignoring US sanctions by providing verified accounts to individuals and entities affiliated with Hezbollah, Iran, Russia, Houthi rebels, and other proscribed entities.

The Tech Transparency Project (TTP) claims it has  that  X  granted blue check marks to accounts tied to Hezbollah members, amongst others.  A tick allows longer posts and better promotion for a fee of $8 per month.

An account belonging to Hezbollah secretary general Hassan Hasrallah is claimed to be ID verified, meaning the Lebanese terrorist would have been required  to submit a selfie and a government-issued identity card to verify his identity.

Musk's decision to charge for check marks was one of the most controversial changes he made after he bought Twitter in 2022, with critics saying the move would make issues of disinformation worse, opening the platform to impersonators. The tick mark was previously free, meant to indicate that the social media platform had verified the identity behind the account. The recipients were mosty journalists, political leaders and various celebrities.

In some cases, those included people facing sanctions in the US, which opened the company to criticism that it was giving a platform to the wrong people and accusations that it was breaking US sanctions law. Now that the system is paid, however, "X may be raising new legal issues," the TTProject said.

TTP also acknowledged that X  has removed the ticks from the accounts it had identified after its report was published,  claiming that its security is "robust".

The TTP identified other accounts that had seemingly paid-for subscription accounts, including one belonging to NTV, a state-controlled television channel in Russia. The US made trade with Russia illegal after its invasion of Ukraine.

Hours after TTP’s report was published, X removed all of the  tick marks mentioned in the report and suspended the account of at least one Iranian-sponsored militia  Othere losing their  blue ticks were accounts for Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Tech Transparency Project     |     The Register     |     Forbes     |     AllSides     |     MCAC     |     Readwrite      |

BBC     |

Image: Philip Oroni

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