Thu, Nov 02, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Twitter promotes anonymous attacks on Qatar World Cup

AP, LONDON

The unsolicited tweets started appearing on timelines over the past week. No Web site, company or person is publicly associated with the accounts, but the message Twitter is being paid to promote and spread is clear: Qatar is an unsuitable host of the 2022 World Cup.

Twitter is cashing in from anonymous attacks on Qatar just as it faces scrutiny over the limited disclosure of information about political advertising in last year’s US election.

However, the Twitter users who received the posts accusing Qatar of supporting extremism alongside images of World Cup preparations offered no indication of the authors.

A promoted post from the QatarExposed account said: “Why does the richest country in the world support terrorism?”

An accompanying video shows images from the soccer game between France and Germany in Paris in November 2015 that was targeted by suicide bombers as the narrator says: “Financing and promoting extremism has become state policy.”

The sequence continues with footage of Qatar winning the FIFA vote in 2010 and concludes saying: “Its sovereign neighbors have taken a stand, they won’t back down.”

KickQatarOut, a second account, features similar branding — with the same typeface and header graphic — and also posted its first message on Oct. 20.

With an illustration of a hand showing a red card, the account advocates calls for FIFA to strip Qatar of the World Cup and highlights concerns about conditions for migrant workers.

A promoted tweet claims there are “projections of 4,000 dead workers,” as Qatar hosts the World Cup.

“This is naked and embarrassing corruption, it will destroy international football, for the sake of one country,” another KickQatarOut tweet states.

Asked if it would be looking into the lack of transparency surrounding the QatarExposed and KickQatarOut accounts, Twitter said: “We don’t comment on individual accounts.”

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