Sep 23, 2015

All your ISIS are belong to us: we’re fighting terrorism with bad Google translations

A Twitter account counteracting the lies propagated by Islamic State sounds useful -- except the tweets are gobbledygook. Freelance journalist Jason Murphy explains.

Islamic State is awful. Their campaign to win territory in the Middle East is destroying lives, ruining priceless antiquities and making the world worse for a long time to come. It makes sense to use any and all means to push back. Especially low-cost, non-violent means. We learned this week the Australian government is using Twitter to fight IS (also called ISIS or Daesh), and that makes sense. IS has an extremely adept social media strategy. We should counter them on their own turf. If a government Twitter account can even prevent one young person from taking up arms, it will have been money well spent. So the @fight_DAESH account could be a good thing. The account, run by the Australian Defence Force, tweets in English and in Arabic. Or so it seems to the average English speaker. But here’s the thing. It turns out the “Arabic” tweets are barely Arabic at all. They’re just a jumble of Arabic vocabulary -- the words, and frequently the phrases, are correct but, taken as a sentence, make little grammatical sense, as numerous Arabic speakers have confirmed.

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