Jihadis Hijack Protest Hashtags To Promote And Incite Violence And Attacks

July 14, 2019

Jihadis have sought to further the protests and unrest in the U.S. – following the example of efforts by China, Russia, and Iran on U.S. social media to spread misinformation to the American public regarding the protests, as has been widely reported by media – by hijacking hashtags and inserting themselves, using bots as well, into conversations on the same platforms and accounts used by protest planners and supporters. These hashtags have included #MuslimLivesMatter, #AmericaBurning, #TheEventsInAmerica, and #Nation_of_liberty.

For example, on Telegram, the Majriyat Ahdath ("Latest Events") news channel shared video clips with footage from across the U.S. One post on the channel wrote, under the hashtag #AmericaBurning: "The anarchy in the U.S. is continuing. Many police vehicles are being burned in Philadelphia, Dallas, and Los Angeles." Another post on the channel, tagged #AmericaBurning, expressed a prayer: "Oh Allah, increase and bless." A May 30 post stated: "You are waking up this morning to news of the destruction of America... May Allah give them a taste of what they did to the Muslims in Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and Palestine..." Additionally, on May 30, a pro-ISIS user on Telegram, Dr. Abu Safiya, used the hashtag #TheEventsInAmerica and called the unrest "the American civil war."

Dr. Abu Safiya, a pro-ISIS user on Telegram, wrote on May 30 under the hashtag #TheEventsInAmerica referring to the unrest as "the American civil war." Another post on the channel, tagged #AmericaBurning, reported on the protests, stating "Oh Allah, increase and bless."

A June 3 post by a user on Al-Qaeda's Rocket.Chat, with the hashtag #America_is_burning, included an image of a building set on fire by rioters Minneapolis. It added that the photo was not from Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, the Philippines, or Palestine that the U.S. allegedly attacks and destroys, but from "the haughty, repeatedly overbearing America, which brings corruption and destruction to the world."

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