Israel promotes ‘Frozen 2’ tweet about Iranian internet blackout

A year ago, the Ringer writer Kate Knibbs christened this the “golden age of weird promoted tweets.” Knibbs wrote of individual users co-opting the feature to more widely disseminate their latest epic missive about breakfast cereal or whatever.

Like all good things that begin organically, brands and other organizations have jumped on the weird promoted tweet bandwagon.

Now, Israel’s United States embassy has possibly created the weirdest promoted tweet of all time.

“With #Frozen2 coming out today it is a good time to remind people that the #Iranian regime has frozen 80 million Iranians from the #internet for a whole week. #Elsa has a message for the regime in #Teheran – Let It Go!” the Embassy of Israel to the United States tweeted from its verified account on Nov. 22.

People were pretty stunned by the flippancy of likening the premiere of a Disney movie to a government attempt to freeze the flow of information in response to massive civil unrest, particularly in light of accusations of human rights abuses and extrajudicial killings by the Iranian regime. “This is a pretty glib way to talk about a government that’s probably killed over a hundred of its own people in a week,” tweeted Mike Sexton, cyber program director of the Middle East Institute.

Rather than coming across as a justifiable critique of Iran, Israel’s enemy, the tone-deaf tweet further served to shine a light on what many view as Israel’s bad behavior, particularly towards Palestinians.

About a week later, the embassy’s bizarre use of Frozen 2 to publicize Iran’s massive internet blackout started popping up in timelines as a promoted tweet.

It did not go over well. “Cringe,” was an extremely common reaction. Some wondered what Disney, a notorious defender of copyrights, had to say about it. Most were just appalled.

The promotion was even featured by Promoted Tweets, an account that solely documents bizarre promoted tweets.

It’s unknown whether the embassy selected the tweet for promotion or if was chosen via Twitter’s Promote Mode, which randomly selects tweets to promote.

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Claire Goforth

Claire Goforth

Claire Goforth is a Jacksonville, Florida-based journalist covering politics, culture, justice, and unicorns. Her work has appeared in publications ranging from regional alt-weeklies to Al Jazeera.