Does Elon Musk give terrorists a say?

Luc Williams

One of the most controversial changes

Journalists, world leaders and celebrities also use the blue marker. In some cases, these were people on whom American sanctions were imposed. This exposed the company to criticism for making the platform available to inappropriate entities and accusations of violating US law.

For $8 a month, the tag allows for longer posts and better promotion. Musk’s decision to charge for tags was one of the most controversial changes he made after buying Twitter in 2022, with critics saying the move could worsen the misinformation problem by opening the platform to impersonators.

Houthi, Secretary General of Hezbollah…

The TTP says an account run by the Ansar Allah movement, known as the Houthi rebels, also paid for the blue tag. The account has over 23,000 followers. The Houthis are subject to sanctions in both the US and the UK. The UK government says on its website that it has imposed sanctions on the Houthis “to disrupt their ability to attack international shipping in the Red Sea and to promote the peace, stability and security of Yemen.”

But now that the system is paid, the Tech Transparency Project believes that X could cause new legal problems. The organization stated that X removed the tags from the accounts he identified after publishing his report (for example, the tag next to the Houthi account was removed).

– The United States imposes sanctions on individuals, groups and countries considered to pose a threat to national security. It appears that Elon Musk’s X is selling premium services to some of them, TTP wrote in its report.

– An account with a blue tag that has the name and profile picture of Hassan Nasr Allah, Secretary General of Hezbollah, also indicates that it is an “ID Verified” account, a service that X offers to premium subscribers as a way to prevent impersonation persons. X requires users to provide a government-issued ID and a selfie to undergo this verification, although it is unclear whether Nasr Allah did this, it continues.

X’s reaction to the report

X responded to the report, arguing that the subscription process “complies with legal obligations” and has been independently verified by X’s payment service providers. – Several accounts mentioned in the report are not directly on the sanctioned lists, while some other accounts may be visible tags, without using sanctioned services, X wrote, adding that the company will take “appropriate action if necessary.”

TTP responded to the post by stating that while some organizations were not listed on the U.S. sanctioned entities list, they were owned by U.S. sanctioned entities.

X “lost control of his platform”?

TTP director Katie Paul told the New York Times that it was a sign that X had “lost control of his platform.” X’s owner Elon Musk, who is also Tesla’s chief executive and one of the world’s richest men, has previously said he wants the social media platform to resemble a “marketplace,” advocating for the right to free speech while removing illegal content.

However, some decisions made after Musk’s acquisition of X have sparked controversy, including restoring rapper Kanye West’s account in 2023 after a nearly eight-month ban on offensive posts containing anti-Semitic comments.


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