Twitter: Where Assyrians are Under Attack in the Weirdest Ways
I wanted to do this quick blog to show everyone how strange and awful social media can be.
I don’t use Facebook that much, instead preferring to share news and thoughts via Twitter.
Below I will post a range of images mostly without commentary (they’re self-explanatory for the most part). I saved these all from last night, all revealing a chain of connections between some new “Assyrian” accounts popping up this month.
Keep your eyes on the red boxes as they are the points of interest.
So I received this tweet last night from a new Assyrian account.
Among the few followers, I noticed a few other Assyrian accounts who didn’t appear as anonymous. So, who is the one on the far end?
The same two people are there.
So what about this third person?
Joined November 2016 as well. And is the only one that follows me.
(Also, I’ve never seen “Kurdistan — Nohadra” ever written together, but anyway)
The first thing obvious to note is that all three accounts follow each other despite having no interactions between each other.
The second thing is the presence of certain Kurdish accounts I and other Assyrians have clashed with online. All strangely present in the modest following list of fresh, new Assyrian accounts? For example:
This account only follows 49 people, yet “Dani Bremi” seems to be one of them. Now, why would a very active Kurdish account which is clearly particular about what it follows, follow a new Assyrian account with little to no content?
Deeper still, we come to the account, Christians_KRG.
November 2016 again — another new account. The coincidence. Let’s peak at the followers list:
We can see the same new Assyrian accounts present here, coupled with a few Kurdish accounts (including the same pair following our imaginary friend “Dani Bremi” — they appear consistently together with all of these accounts)
I’ve starred Noor here because I know him, so I asked him who this account was run by:
He didn’t know, but made the suggestion I ask. So of course, I did:
I received no response to this and they have since tweeted new content.
I had a look at my block list out of curiosity. If these fake or unsavory accounts are popping up everywhere, they might have interacted with me recently.
These are all recent blocks — all Kurdish accounts who have trolled me, such is Twitter. This one caught my eye (the others are all horrible too) but I have a vague memory of instantly blocking after being tweeted by them:
You can see a pattern emerging, with the same people popping up on tiny, mostly all newly created accounts with fake, anonymous or generic pictures.
They are all created at the same time, save for this last example.
These people are not Assyrian.
They have no spoken Assyrian on their account and don’t respond to Assyrian as text.
All claim to be from Iraq, yet do not type any Arabic or exhibit any propensity for it.
They all follow Assyrian accounts in the West and/or Kurdish accounts, and mostly have Kurdish followers. Nothing suggests they know anything about each other despite following each other, or other Assyrians in Iraq.
Curiously, the only one growing somewhat is the Christian_KRG account, which has made it a policy of not interacting with anyone and just posting pictures with captions.
This account is slicker than the others, but as you can see here by clicking through (and clicking through, and clicking through — that was an hour on Friday night I won’t get back) a web of connections emerge.
And all three of these “Assyrian” accounts (by my quick searching) don’t have Facebook (Assyrians from Iraq who have Twitter and not Facebook? Interacting with nobody they know locally? Whoever is behind these accounts really doesn’t know any Assyrians.)
Coming back to the start, this was “Rita’s” first ever tweet:
Here is “Dani’s” first interaction with someone (a reply to a one year old tweet by a friend about an issue that exposed abuse of Assyrian heritage by Kurds in Iraq):
And I woke up this morning to this tweet:
These type of accounts, all self-identifying as Assyrian, are proliferating rapidly this month for some reason. They all (to varying degrees and via different strategies) are hostile to or aim to undermine Assyrian social media presence, especially on networks such as Twitter where content is easily searchable and more exposed to outside eyes. I suspect there are 1–2 people behind these accounts, which may grow in number even further.
I have seen people interacting with them and taking them seriously, but I encourage everyone to block these accounts and be wary of Assyrians who can’t demonstrate a stable, consistent presence online.
I wasted two hours of my life documenting this and putting this together so you don’t have to. I just wanted to nip it in the bud before it got out of hand. Simply ignore baiting messages, block, and don’t engage.
Moving past individual fake accounts, this should serve as a record to destroy any credibility the Christian_KRG account might build for itself. This is not something created by Assyrians.
Sadly, I can see two Western journalists with a combined 44,000 followers following it already. It didn’t take them long, did it?
Anyway, now I can get back to real life and talking to real people away from these sad loons.
(N.B. I contacted “Dani Bremi” in spoken Assyrian and received no response. I also contacted Khalid Talia, a Manager of Christian Affairs in the KRG, regarding the new Christians_KRG account since it is using the KRG name and I received no response from him either. I have spoken to him before so I imagine he is confused and unable to give me an answer at present…)