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X Faces Backlash for Verifying Terrorist Entities

Highlights

  • X scrutinized for verifying terrorist groups.

  • Groups received subscriptions despite sanctions.

  • X pledges to ensure a safe, compliant platform.

X, previously known as Twitter, has come under scrutiny for approving verification and accepting payments from terrorist organizations. A report by the Tech Transparency Project highlighted that X offers premium subscriptions to entities sanctioned by the U.S., such as Hezbollah and Houthi groups, in addition to some media outlets supported by Iran and Russia.

Verification Goes Against Stated Policies

The policy of X specifies that no sanctioned group shall manage payments within the app, yet these organizations have reportedly subscribed to X’s paid plans. Hezbollah, in particular, maintains a profile with over 93,000 followers under the leadership of Hassan Nasrallah. The group uses this platform to spread content that portrays the U.S. negatively. Likewise, the Houthi group from Yemen joined the paid subscription shortly after being designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S.

In light of these findings, X’s representatives have committed to investigating the situation and ensuring a safe platform for users. X has already taken steps to remove the verification check marks from several listed accounts.

Operational Challenges at X

The manner in which these sanctioned groups acquired paid subscriptions remains unknown, particularly given the clear policy breach. X’s verification process, which was rigorously checked by an in-house team in the past, has become less transparent after significant staff reductions following Elon Musk’s takeover. This raises questions about X’s adherence to U.S. sanctions and the seriousness with which it tackles terrorism-related content.

X’s track record with terrorism-related controversies extends back to February 2023, when it managed to avoid legal repercussions in a Supreme Court ruling. The platform had also been criticized in November for profiting from the conflict between Israel and Hamas through ads and subscription fees. These incidents put X’s platform control into question.

X has assured prompt action will follow their inquiry. They reiterated their dedication to maintaining a safe and policy-compliant environment for their user base. The recent removal of verification from certain profiles may indicate a step towards rectifying the situation.

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