A report by the non-profit organization Tech Transparency Project (TTP) states that social network X provided a premium subscription to sanctioned (in the United States) persons. Even Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah, whose account of more than 93,000 followers was marked as “ID verified,” was on the “verified” list, meaning the owner provided X with a government-issued ID.

In total, the TTP report identified 28 “dignitaries” among individuals and institutions. The Iranian state news agency Press TV, Russia’s Tinkoff Bank and Ansarallah, a Houthi group recently recognized as a terrorist group in the United States, could boast of a golden “tick” on platform X (a mark for organizations, its cost decreased from $1000 to $200 per month in January 2024). For private individuals, Al-Saadi Gaddafi, the son of the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi (for some time he tracked Musk’s publications), had a blue one. 18 accounts were checked after Musk’s takeover of Twitter, 10 were paid to keep the “tick” received earlier.

Platform X, almost instantaneously, as soon as the TTP report appeared, removed its fake “gold” from almost all of its accounts, with the exception of Press TV and Tinkoff Bank, and in a comment to the media stated that “X takes a reliable and secure approach to our monetization functions, complying with legal obligations, and conducts independent verification using our payment providers. Some of the accounts listed in the report are not directly listed on the sanctions lists, some others may have visible ‘ticks’ on the accounts, but do not receive any sanctioned services.”

The TTP rightly replied that, according to the law, US enterprises are generally prohibited from conducting economic transactions with sanctioned individuals and entities, and internal policy X does not allow the sale of premium packages to those who have been financially sanctioned. It is also unlikely to mislead the X verification program – because the identities of those who volunteered to pay $1,000 a month for verification are very well known. So, most likely, this is an indirect but effective legitimization of terrorists; nothing surprising and nothing new like Elon Musk.

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