Twitter trolls' online crusade against extremism brings down 'al-Qa'ida' Twitter account
A Twitter hashtag asking for propaganda ideas was bombarded with joke advice such as 'release a brand of exclusive fragrances'
Saturday 17 August 2013
A Twitter account supposedly run by terror group al-Qa'ida that asked its followers for ideas to help it spread its message has been suspended after users of the social networking site targeted it with mocking tweets.
A security analyst urged his followers on the site to "hijack" a hashtag allegedly used by terrorists to solicit suggestions for what it called "media opps".
Social networkers responded to JM Berger's request by besieging the terrorists' hashtag with satirical suggestions, including one from a user who counselled the extremists to release a film entitled Dude, Where's My Car Bomb?
Berger, a contributor to Foreign Policy magazine, launched the campaign earlier this week when he alerted his 13,600 followers to an Arabic hashtag which he wrote was being used by members of al-Qa'ida and its Somali-based allies al-Shabab to get propaganda tips. "You should all send some," he suggested to fellow Twitter users.
Several suggestions that were tweeted made reference to the pornography allegedly found at Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan after US Navy Seals assassinated him in 2011.
The user Chris Forewit wrote, "My suggestion for al Qaida's woes: sell Osama's porn collection on eBay," according to MailOnline.
Other ideas mooted included "More cats in online video releases," and a proposal for al-Qa'ida's leader leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to create "Martyrdom", a brand of exclusive fragrances.
Berger later praised his followers for their hard work. "Thanks guys, couldn't have done it without you," he tweeted.
A Twitter spokesman has said the micro-blogging site would not comment on individual accounts.
A note on the Twitter profile alleged to have started the PR hashtag read, "Sorry, that user is suspended."
Berger has posted on his account that organisations such as al-Shabab have used both Facebook and Twitter to recruit members.
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