TTP Report: X Premium Accounts Spread Hamas Propaganda Videos of Attack on Israel
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct 12, 2023
Contact: Michael Clauw, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.780.5750
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Campaign for Accountability (CfA) a nonprofit watchdog group that runs the Tech Transparency Project (TTP), released a report which shows that X, formerly Twitter, is allowing premium subscriber accounts to spread Hamas propaganda videos with violent images of the group’s attack on Israel. The videos appear to be in violation of X’s “violent and hateful entities policy,” which bans promotion of terrorist organizations and their propaganda. TTP found no evidence that X had restricted the accounts sharing the Hamas attack videos and, in some cases, X ran ads in the comments under the video posts—monetizing the terrorist content.
CfA Executive Director Michelle Kuppersmith said, “It’s bad enough that X allows these horrifying propaganda videos… it’s another thing entirely for it to allow the accounts that post them to retain their priority perks—so long as they keep paying $8 a month.”
The videos, which carry Hamas iconography, are featured on the website of the military wing of Hamas, the Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades (EQB). While some media organizations have used clips of the videos in news reports and analyses of the conflict, the X accounts identified in this report feature the videos in full—and unlike the media reports, they do not blur images of the dead.
In one example, X Premium accounts @IranObserver0 and @GrandOlPatriots posted a Hamas video of an attack near the Erez crossing from Gaza into Israel. The video, which begins with text declaring “Scenes from the division’s brigades storming the Erez military site and finishing off enemy soldiers,” shows militants going room to room in a building firing automatic weapons as mangled bodies lay on the ground.
TTP also counted at least a dozen Hamas propaganda videos shared by the premium blue checkmark account @WarMonitors, which gained attention this week after Musk promoted the account as a good source for “following the war in real-time,” before deleting his post. The account, which has over 750,000 followers, is known for spreading a false claim of an explosion at the Pentagon in May 2023.
TTP also identified a regular, non-premium X account that appears to be linked to the Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades. The account, @Pal_resi48, also goes by EQB, and a pinned post on the account links to a website that the U.S. government has attributed to the Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades, and the site also links to this X account. Back in 2014, Twitter—as X was previously known—reportedly suspended an account for the military wing of Hamas. But the current EQB account on X has been operating on the platform since August 2022, and X has monetized its feed with ads.
Ms. Kuppersmith continued, “It’s disturbing that, when made available, these terrorist propaganda videos find such a large audience online. It’s perhaps even worse that the platform is profiting from these horrifying images by selling ads alongside them.”
Campaign for Accountability is a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog organization that uses research, litigation, and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.