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Twitter trolls Al-Qaeda: Extremist hashtag flooded with jihad ‘PR advice’

Twitter trolls Al-Qaeda: Extremist hashtag flooded with jihad ‘PR advice’
Al-Qaeda found it couldn't read advice from its followers on Twitter after the group’s hashtag was hijacked by users submitting satirical suggestions on how to improve the organization's media operations. The bombardment led to the account's suspension.

The alleged Al-Qaeda Twitter account conducted a survey last week asking followers for ideas on how to spread jihad throughout the world and develop extremist media. Al-Qaeda supporters were asked to submit their suggestions using hashtag  #اقتراحك_لتطوير_اﻹعلام_الجهادي, which loosely translates to "suggestions to develop jihadist media."

But the feed was instead flooded with mocking suggestions ranging from grim to satirical.

The anti-Al-Qaeda trolling campaign began after security analyst J.M. Berger discovered the hashtag and asked his Twitter followers to hijack it.

The barrage of suggestions soon followed, including one that advised producing a movie entitled “Dude, Where's My Car Bomb?”

Although there were some legitimate and relevant suggestions tweeted in Arabic, they all dissolved in a stream of mocking ideas, from adding “more cats” to Al-Qaeda’s online video releases to launching a “brand of exclusive fragrances.”

Berger, a terrorism analyst and author of "Jihad Joe: Americans Who Go to War in the Name of Islam," suggested that by offering bogus ideas on Twitter, users would drown out the real offers from jihadists worldwide.

He and his 13,000 followers succeeded in doing just that. Prior to the Berger campaign, the extremist account gathered some 250 legitimate ideas, while the flooding caused the Twitter account to receive almost ten times as many ‘suggestions.’