- The Washington Times - Monday, February 6, 2023

House Republicans are warning Twitter CEO Elon Musk of terror organizations finding loopholes to amplify propaganda on the social media site.

Reps. Pat Fallon, Keith Self and Ronny Jackson, all of Texas, and James Moylan of Guam, sent a letter to Mr. Musk demanding answers on how Twitter can prevent the misuse of its site by bad actors and how its verification process vets users’ identities.

“Recent reports of Taliban officials purchasing blue checkmarks on Twitter have raised concerns that they may be using the algorithms associated with the program to spread hate, radical idealism, and terrorist propaganda,” the letter reads. “It is important to note that the United States does not recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan.”

Mr. Fallon added that other groups, like ISIS, have sought to use new methods to expand outreach efforts online.

“At the end of the day, we cannot allow these murderous groups to abuse American-based platforms to repress women, religious freedoms, democracy, and ethnic minorities,” Mr. Fallon said in a statement.

In addition to practices on combating the misuse of Twitter, the lawmakers asked Mr. Musk how he plans to manage incidents of misuse by transnational and terrorist groups, as well as how they can assist with upholding First Amendment protections while cracking down on malpractice.

Republicans have largely welcomed Mr. Musk‘s takeover of Twitter over his commitment to make it a platform that upholds free speech.

GOP lawmakers have often raised concerns and accusations that they’ve been silenced online due to their conservative views.

Mr. Musk temporarily made blue verified check marks available to anyone with an $8 purchase. The checks are typically attached to accounts belonging to celebrities, politicians, or journalists.

The move prompted individuals to impersonate high-profile figures such as former President Donald Trump.

Reports that Taliban officials were purchasing the check marks also raised issues with the expansion of verified accounts.

• Mica Soellner can be reached at msoellner@washingtontimes.com.

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