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Al Qaeda asked Twitter for PR advice, and here’s what happened

When Al Qaeda solicited "media development" ideas from Twitter, it was never going to turn out well.


Kris Holt

Internet Culture

Posted on Aug 14, 2013   Updated on Jun 1, 2021, 9:12 am CDT

When Al Qaeda solicited “media development” ideas from Twitter, it was never going to turn out well.

J.M. Berger, an investigative reporter who covers extremism and terrorism, urged followers to provide the terror organization with media advice. The Arabic hashtag Al Qaeda used, #???????_??????_??????_???????, roughly translates to “suggestions for the development of jihadi media.”

Hey everybody, Al Qaeda is using this hashtag to solicit ideas for media ops #???????_??????_??????_??????? — you should all send some.

— J.M. Berger (@intelwire) August 13, 2013

Twitter users, including Berger, inevitably hijacked the tag with a trove of facetious PR suggestions.

J.J. Abrams show about mysterious island where AQ operatives crash then kill each other over arcane theology #???????_??????_??????_???????

— J.M. Berger (@intelwire) August 13, 2013

Auction off the cabinet Osama bin Laden filmed his videos in front of #???????_??????_??????_???????

— J.M. Berger (@intelwire) August 13, 2013

My suggestion for Al Qaeda’s woes: sell Osama’s porn collection on eBay. #???????_??????_??????_???????

— Chris Forewit (@forewit) August 13, 2013

Waziristan’s Top 10 Romantic Restaurants #???????_??????_??????_???????

— Challah Hu Akbar (@ChallahHuAkbar) August 13, 2013

Top 10 list of reasons we suddenly like Morsi #???????_??????_??????_???????

— J.M. Berger (@intelwire) August 13, 2013

Goatse #???????_??????_??????_???????

— J.M. Berger (@intelwire) August 13, 2013

New jihadi training video: Out with the monkey bars, in with hot yoga #???????_??????_??????_???????

— J.M. Berger (@intelwire) August 13, 2013

Send Ibrahim al-Asiri on Top Gear to be the Star in the reasonably priced car bomb. #???????_??????_??????_???????

— Zedd Rebel (@ZeddRebel) August 14, 2013

Knock-knock jokes are nice. Everybody can appreciate a good knock-knock joke. #???????_??????_???????_???????

— DWD (@fasteddie9318) August 14, 2013

Relay race. No baton. Stick of TNT. You don’t want to be penalized for taking too long. Or do you? #???????_??????_???????_???????

— Troy Fokker (@Corsair8X) August 14, 2013

Al Qaeda the movie: Dude, where’s my car bomb? #???????_??????_??????_???????

— Charlie (@timmyconspiracy) August 13, 2013

Say a special hello to the NSA, too. #???????_??????_??????_???????

— Jessica (@MoonUponAStick) August 14, 2013

Make a documentary called Bacon and the reasons we’re angry at the world #???????_??????_???????_???????

— Eben Bosman (@EbenBosman) August 14, 2013

Tree hugging, finger painting, free dance, artisanal breadmaking, & watching butterflies #???????_??????_???????_???????

— Gert (@Gert) August 14, 2013

Flooding the tag with banality had a tangible effect on extremists, who openly use Twitter for propaganda and recruitment. “[O]n top of giving jihadis a sad, you are actually making it harder for them to get terrorism work done,” Berger argued. Jihadists were infuriated.

Work on repartee #???????_??????_??????_??????? RT @IrjaSlayer: @intelwire may Allah destroy you you filthy Kaafir kalb la3natAllah alak

— J.M. Berger (@intelwire) August 13, 2013


H/T BuzzFeed | Photo via XXX

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*First Published: Aug 14, 2013, 10:16 am CDT