X restricts Iranian media following pressure

The situation in Gaza

Published 20 February 2024
- By Editorial Staff
X owner Elon Musk and Israeli President Isaac Herzhog - November 2023.

The social media platform X, formerly Twitter, has removed verifications from the accounts of a number of Iranian media outlets.

Iranian state broadcaster Press TV accused X of bowing to pressure from the Israel lobby, saying it was trying to discourage media outlets that expose Israeli crimes during the ongoing war in Gaza.

A number of accounts linked to Iranian news sites and media outlets have lost their blue and gold “checkmarks” that previously indicated they were verified accounts.

The accounts were restricted on Wednesday following a report by the watchdog group Tech Transparency Project (TTP), which criticized X for providing paid premium services to more than a dozen accounts for individuals and groups subject to U.S. government sanctions.

These included accounts for Iran’s English-, Arabic-, and Spanish-language news outlets Press TV, Al-Alam, and Hispan TV, as well as the Tasnim News Agency, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Mizan, and PadDolat, the official Iranian government news website.

“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 US sanctions”, the report said.

“Israel lobby ratchets up pressure”

In a statement, X officials said they had “reviewed the report and will take action if necessary”, including removing the Iranian media verifications.

Press TV notes that the platform’s action “comes at a time when the Israeli lobby has mounted pressure on the media exposing Israeli crimes in its genocidal war on the Gaza Strip”, and that “X owner Elon Musk has succumbed to the Israeli pressure”.

It also points out that owner Elon Musk recently visited Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel, that Palestinian slogans have been banned from the platform, and that pro-Palestinian journalists have also been banned from X, and that this should be seen as evidence that Musk and X are not neutral but clearly pro-Israeli in the conflict.

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