Twitter suspends Hamas, Hezbollah-affiliated accounts

Al-Manar stressed the channel’s ‘objectivity and accuracy in conveying truth.’

A 3D-printed logo for Twitter is seen in this illustrative picture (photo credit: DADO RUVIC/REUTERS)
A 3D-printed logo for Twitter is seen in this illustrative picture
(photo credit: DADO RUVIC/REUTERS)
Twitter has suspended all Hamas-affiliated accounts and “most” accounts associated with Hezbollah, according to media reports.
“There is no place on Twitter for illegal terrorist organizations and violent extremist groups,” a Twitter spokesperson told AFP.
A bipartisan group of US lawmakers accused the social media giant last week of violating American law by allowing content from US-designated terrorist groups to appear on the micro-blogging site. Congress ordered Twitter to suspend all accounts affiliated with Hezbollah and Hamas by November 2, according to Al-Manar TV, a Hezbollah-affiliated station that claimed most of its Twitter accounts had been suspended on Saturday.
The Twitter accounts in Arabic, French, English and Spanish were suspended with no prior notice.
Al-Manar stressed the channel’s “objectivity and accuracy in conveying truth,” in a post about the suspensions. The TV station stressed that, in addition to its “resistance role,” Hezbollah “plays a big role in Lebanese political life.”
In October, reps. Josh Gottheimer, Tom Reed, Max Rose and Brian Fitzpatrick said that Twitter is “blatantly violating US law” by allowing Hezbollah- and Hamas-affiliated accounts, and demanded that the company remove these accounts by November 1.
“We may make limited exceptions for groups that have reformed or are currently engaging in peaceful resolution processes, as well as groups with representatives who have been elected to public office... as is the case with parts of Hamas and Hezbollah,” Twitter’s US director of public policy and philanthropy, Carlos Monje, said in September.
Furthermore, a Twitter spokesperson told the Jewish media syndication site JNS last week that terrorist groups have no place on the social media platform, and that the company “draws a distinction between the political and military factions of the organizations mentioned in the letter.”
This is not the first time Hamas-affiliated accounts have been closed by Twitter. In 2016, the party’s “military wing,” Izzadin al-Qassam Brigades, had its English and Arabic accounts closed down. In 2014, during the Hamas-Israel war in Gaza, Twitter also shut down all of the group’s official accounts. However, Hamas reopened them almost immediately.
Meanwhile, Twitter announced it will ban political advertising on its platform next month, the company’s chief executive said on Wednesday, a move that won praise from Democrats and scorn from Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.
“We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally,” said CEO Jack Dorsey in a statement. “We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought.”
Analysts do not expect the ban, which takes effect on November 22, to significantly reduce Twitter’s business. Its shares fell 1.9% in after-hours trading.
Omri Nahmias in Washington contributed to this report.