Home X accused of taking money from terrorist and sanctioned groups

X accused of taking money from terrorist and sanctioned groups

Social media platform X has been accused of possibly breaking US sanction law by granting subscription perks to terrorist groups and others banned in the United States.

Campaigners from the Tech Transparency Project (TTP) have claimed that Elon Musk‘s X gave blue check marks to accounts associated with Lebanese Shia Islamist political party and militant group Hezbollah, among more than a dozen others sanctioned by the US government.

Blue check marks used to be free on Twitter, granted to accounts largely associated with journalists, world leaders, and celebrities to show that the social media site had verified the account. Under Musk’s leadership, it now costs $8 (£6.40) a month and comes with perks like longer posts and better promotion.

“The fact that X requires users to pay a monthly or annual fee for premium service suggests that X is engaging in financial transactions with these accounts, a potential violation of U.S. sanctions.,” the TTP said in a report published on its own site. The group went on to claim that X removed ticks from named accounts after the report was published.

The TTP claimed that an account run by Ansar Allah, known as the Houthis, had also seemingly paid for its blue check mark, as well as accounts associated with Iranian and Russian state-run media. The Houthis are sanctioned in both the US and the UK due to attacks on international shipping routes in the Red Sea, and threats to Yemen’s stability.

The concern is that X is giving a larger platform to harmful voices and potentially breaking US sanctions law.

How has X responded to the claim?

Responding to the claims from the TTP in a post on the platform, X’s safety team defended its “robust and secure approach” to monetization features.

“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,” the statement continued. “Our teams have reviewed the report and will take action if necessary.”

However, the TTP responded once again in another thread on X, arguing that even if some of the entities are not directly listed on the sanction lists, they are owned by companies that are.

“This is why companies have compliance efforts on these issues,” the organization wrote.

Featured image: Pexels

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Rachael Davies
Tech Journalist

Rachael Davies has spent six years reporting on tech and entertainment, writing for publications like the Evening Standard, Huffington Post, Dazed, and more. From niche topics like the latest gaming mods to consumer-faced guides on the latest tech, she puts her MA in Convergent Journalism to work, following avenues guided by a variety of interests. As well as writing, she also has experience in editing as the UK Editor of The Mary Sue , as well as speaking on the important of SEO in journalism at the Student Press Association National Conference. You can find her full portfolio over on…

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