Note: This story has been updated.
Turns out, the Taliban's Twitter is the ultimate troll account.
Within 24 hours of a news report informing the world that the al-Qaida-linked militants had joined the microblogging service, followers went from less than 900 to almost 4,000 with obvious non-believers shooting less-than-supportive tweets to its @alemarahweb Twitter address:
@mittcleaver: @alemarahweb Now be honest guys, isn't tweeting more fun than blowing yourself up and murdering a lot of innocent people?
@mattlesnake:@alemarahweb So what do you think of the porn found in UBL's compound? Hypocrites.
@rmyfree:@alemarahweb Dude, use Arabic or English
These are a (very) few of the tweets to the Taliban that are post-able on a family website. The majority, as you can imagine, are lousy with angry expletives that might make a sailor blush — if one naively assumes Navy sailors aren't joining in.
Those who are tweeting insults in 140 characters or less shouldn't expect immediate replies. The @alemarahweb Twitter account serves the Internet troll prime directive — to post content on the Internet specifically designed to annoy the hell out of people. Essentially though, it's currently little more than an ascetic propaganda feed.
"In the latest sign of the hardline movement's rapprochement with at least some areas of the modern world, the Taliban have embraced microblogging," reports the U.K. Guardian:
[The Taliban] Twitter feed pumps out several messages a day, keeping 993 followers up to date with often highly exaggerated reports of strikes against the "infidel forces" and the "Karzai puppet regime." Most messages are in Pashtu, with links to news stories on the elaborate and multilingual website of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, as the Taliban's shadow government likes to style itself.
You may recall, the group had little use for technology when it ran Afghanistan, but now it seems the Taliban have joined the new millennium. That's not to say it suddenly allows women to drive or work or get an education. And don't expect witty banter with @DeathStarPR, let alone a #FollowFriday shout out or participation in an Infidel Pie hashtag game such as #changethewordamericantoinfidelinamovietitle.
The Guardian noted that on Thursday, the account posted its first English tweet about an attack on police in Farah province: "Enemy attacked in Khak-e-Safid, 6 dead." Links to similar reports are more often broken than not because "the Taliban's official website, regularly evicted from servers or shut down by authorities, is constantly on the move."
Notably, the Taliban Twitter account follows only 12 others, including @Afghantim, described on Twitter as "a US air force logistics officer currently deployed working as a combat adviser to the Afghan army" and @afghanHeroesUK, "a charity supporting British troops in Afghanistan."
Meanwhile, account operators don't seem to be aware that they can prevent enemies from following them by making the account private. Either that or they're Twitter-savvy enough to know people only pay attention to their own tweets.
Whatever. Just expect some Twitter wiseguy to launch the spoof account — something like @OfficialAlemarahweb — within the next three minutes or so.
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