Hezbollah Online Activity Now Includes U.S.-Based WhatsApp and Other Mobile Apps
Lebanon-based terror group Hezbollah has recently expanded its digital footprint to include U.S.-based mobile applications including the popular messaging service WhatsApp, according to a report by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
Users of California-based WhatsApp can now receive texts from Hezbollah’s satellite television station Al-Manar, and its supporters can interact with the media outlet. Additionally, all of Hezbollah’s apps and podcasts can be downloaded and purchased via Apple iTunes and Google Play, according to MEMRI’s report.
The creator of Al-Manar’s app has also built apps for Sky News TV, France 24 TV, and BBC Arabic Live TV, among other media outlets.
Over the past few years, MEMRI has documented Hezbollah’s online activity including its websites, many of which are hosted on ISPs in the West and especially in the United States.
Hezbollah is also active on social media and operates multiple accounts on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter that have attracted hundreds of thousands of followers between them. Facebook has sought to remove numerous Hezbollah accounts but Twitter and YouTube have not, MEMRI noted.
In April, Congressman Mark Meadows – along with Reps. Brad Schneider, Ed Royce and Eliot Engel – introduced legislation in the House of Representatives aimed at preventing Hezbollah and affiliated terrorist groups from accessing international financial institutions and other outlets.
The bill demands sanctions on satellite companies that provide services to Al-Manar as well as financial centers that conduct business with the television station.