Hezbollah has websites hosted in various American states and has a presence on social media websites and phone applications despite being listed as a terrorist organization.
In a new report published on Friday, the Middle East Media Research Institute maps out Hezbollah’s latest online media presence, showing that the group holds Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Apple Store and Google Play applications with hundreds of thousands of followers.
Facebook has removed a number of Hezbollah’s accounts, but Twitter and YouTube have not. The group has also begun using the WhatsApp mobile application messaging service, which was recently bought by Facebook.
In addition, the terror group has websites hosted in the states of Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Illinois, Colorado, Texas, and California.
The report by Steven Stalinsky and Ruchama Sosnow is part four of a series of articles charting Hezbollah’s online presence, which has grown beyond its TV channel and radio station, to video games.
What is interesting is that the US State Department designated Hezbollah a Foreign Terrorist Organization back in October 2005. It was previously designated an FTO in 1999, though this status was temporarily rescinded in 2001 after the group denounced the 9/11 attacks.
“Such activity is especially noteworthy now, as legislation in the US House of Representatives aimed at preventing Hezbollah and its affiliated groups from gaining access to international financial institutions and other outlets was introduced on April 7, 2014 by Congressman Mark Meadows, along with Reps. Brad Schneider, Ed Royce, and Eliot Engel,” states the report.
“The bill explicitly calls for the sanctions on satellite companies that offer Hezbollah’s TV station Al-Manar as well as financial centers that conduct certain levels of business with them.”MEMRI contacted the three servers that are hosting the Al-Manar website: ServerSpace Limited in London, UK, Vault Networks in Florida, and eNet in Ohio. None of them took action to remove the Hezbollah website.
Al-Manar launched its application for the iPhone and iPad in July 2012. Al-Manar TV was designated as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist by the State Department in March, 2006 because it was “owned or controlled by the Iran-funded Hezbollah terrorist network”.
The United States has tools that it can use to target Hezbollah and its media network, says the report. The group has also extended its reach into video games in order to influence youth.
Another Hezbollah-affiliated site, Moqawama, contains a new site of video games called “Play and Resist” where you can take part in military operations against Israel during the period from 1982-2000.
“The ‘About the Website’ section states: ‘Peace be upon you... welcome to the site Play and Resist, affiliated with the website of the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon, which contains a collection of games telling the story of the resistance and of its operations and responses to the criminality and terrorism of the Zionist enemy in our own beloved region in order to reinforce awareness that the eye of the resistance and the blood of the martyrs has produced victory..."