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June 11, 2014 0

Hezbollah World Cup Competition Brought To You By WhatsApp

Update — 6/12/14: As of today, the com­pe­ti­tion adver­tise­ment on Al Manar (see image below), no longer includes the What­sApp logo.

Hezbollah’s satel­lite tele­vi­sion sta­tion, Al Manar TV, has launched an online com­pe­ti­tion in time for the World Cup called “Expect and Win” that uses the California-based instant mes­sag­ing ser­vice WhatsApp.wolrd-cup-soccer-hezbollah-al-manar-whatsapp

The com­pe­ti­tion, adver­tised by the Al Manar TV web­site, will award a par­tic­i­pant who cor­rectly selects the win­ning team in the World Cup opener between Brazil and Croa­tia on June 12. Par­tic­i­pants sub­mit their selec­tion via What­sApp and a win­ner will be selected on June 13.

The com­pe­ti­tion rules say that only Lebanese are allowed to par­tic­i­pate by send­ing their per­sonal infor­ma­tion and selec­tion to Al Manar TV through What­sApp. The com­pe­ti­tion is spon­sored by a group of local busi­nesses in Lebanon, includ­ing restau­rants and shops. It is unclear what “reward” the win­ner will receive.

The com­pe­ti­tion is the lat­est exam­ple of how ter­ror­ist groups like Hezbol­lah use tech­nol­ogy to inter­act with indi­vid­u­als and engage with a younger generation.

Al Manar TV, which is listed by the U.S. gov­ern­ment as a “Spe­cially Des­ig­nated Global Ter­ror­ist Entity,”first began using the What­sApp ser­vice in Jan­u­ary of 2014 as a way to reach and inter­act with their audi­ence world­wide and to deliver break­ing news via texts deliv­ered to smartphones.

Al Manar TV broad­casts Hezbollah’s mes­sages of hate and vio­lence, dis­sem­i­nates anti-Semitic and anti-American pro­pa­ganda and glo­ri­fies sui­cide bomb­ings to mil­lions of view­ers in the Arab world, Europe and South East Asia 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

In July of 2012, ADL exposed Al Manar’s efforts to cre­ate free appli­ca­tions for smart­phones avail­able through iTunes and other online stores. The appli­ca­tion was removed from the iTunes store and Hezbol­lah issued a state­ment blam­ing ADL for the removal of its applications.