AJ+ has become a major video creator on Facebook, with its viral videos in the style of Buzzfeed or NowThis targeting liberal millennials. But unknown to some, it’s actually a branch of Al Jazeera and is owned by the government of Qatar, a Middle Eastern nation long accused of meddling in the affairs of other countries.
The AJ+ videos often focus on progressive ideals and are framed in a way that emphasizes the divisions in U.S. policy and politics. And Facebook doesn’t disclose the Qatar connection on videos AJ+ posts and apparently hasn’t blocked its content, even as the social media platform cracks down on fake news and hidden foreign influence.
“If AJ+ reaches a larger audience with its façade of progressivism, it doesn’t mean Qatar is more progressive. It just means its influence campaign is more effective,” a researcher with the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, Gilead Ini, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. . .
Meanwhile, AJ+ publishes videos criticizing policies and politics that are particularly divisive in the U.S., but are contrary to Qatar’s own laws. For example, AJ+ posted a video on Facebook on May 15 portraying Alabama abortion legislation as dangerous, yet Qatar imprisons women for unauthorized abortions.
AJ+ “targets young, left-leaning Americans by focusing on areas of young progressive interest, such as the ‘patriarchy,’ LGBT rights, and even the lives of indigenous American ‘punk rockers,’” wrote the Middle East Forum’s Samantha Rose Mandeles. “Though promoting intersectionality, feminism, same-sex marriage, and punk rock is not part of the traditional Qatari rhetoric … AJ+’s branding allows Doha to peddle anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism to a younger audience under the guise of minority rights.” (Read more from “Viral Media Outlet with Ties to Qatar Tricks Young Liberals into Spreading Anti-American Propaganda” HERE)