21st century crusade

September 18, 2012 2:17 pm

The Innocence of Muslims, the controversial ‘anti-Islam’ film shows that online and social media content is a new form of cyber warfare

Sadly, it’s not just cute videos of cats and Korean pop stars that have the potential to go viral.

As we saw this weekend in Sydney, and for the past week around the world, there are far more serious consequences involved when a piece of content makes its way around the world at lightning speed – and far more sinister motives behind its distribution.

Social media spreads the wrong message

The film that sparked the outrage and violence, The Innocence of Muslims, was reportedly only shown once in a cinema. To a crowd of around ten people. It is a poorly made, embarrassingly crude film that has generated publicity through social media, with the help of a few individuals whose motives, while still unclear, seem to focus on stirring up even more hate between Islam and the rest of the world.

The film has been linked to the murder of the American Ambassador and three other Americans in Libya, and widespread violent protests (complete with US flag burning) elsewhere. In addition, Al-Qaeda has called for Muslims around the world to attack US embassies and consulates – and several have heeded to demand.

In Sydney, several of the most extreme protestors were pictured waving the black flag that has been adopted by Al-Qaeda, and wearing T-shirts and headbands with the words ‘Sixth Pillar’ displayed. This is thought to be a reference to Jihad or ‘Holy War’, declared in some Islamic teachings to be the sixth pillar of Islam.

The main players…

‘The Innocence of Muslims’ film started the protests

It was revealed late last week that ‘Sam Becile’, the man allegedly responsible for creating the film, was actually a fake persona created by convicted criminal and Coptic Christian, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. According to an article in The Australian, US authorities and the Associated Press discovered the links between the ‘Sam Becile’ identity and that of Mr Nakoula after tracing a phone back to Nakoula’s Southern Californian residence.

Even more worrying than the creation of the film is the fact that ‘Sam Becile’ had originally claimed to be Jewish Israeli, obviously intending to direct Islamic anger over the film toward Israel and Judaism. The Coptic Christian link continues, however, with Morris Sadek, a blogger and head of the National American Coptic Assembly, recently outed as the reason the film made it into public consciousness.

According to the Religion News Service, Sadek is translated the film into Arabic (so it could be shown on Arabic news networks around the world) and alerting the Egyptian press to the existence of the film. He allegedly also spread the film through his own social networks and blog.

A content-based war

We blogged some time ago about Stuxnet, a computer virus aimed at disrupting Iran’s nuclear reactors and allegedly created in part by Israel and the US. We also wrote more recently about Flame, the latest cyber-weapon in the mix. If these complex viruses are the heavy artillery, then YouTube videos and social media campaigns are the militia groups of this new, Web-based combat.

Perhaps less sophisticated but no less dangerous, the creation of and reaction to The Innocence of Muslims have shown that digital content, strategically disseminated, has the potential for catastrophic real-world results.


The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.


  • Content Marketing News & Views Why Your Brand Needs a Podcast

    Why Your Brand Needs a Podcast

    Can you imagine speaking directly to a captive audience of potential customers? I’m not talking about the room of people you might find at a conference or seminar, but potentially tens of thousands of prospective buyers, listening to you from their home, on their way to work, during their lunch break or maybe even at the gym. This is the power of podcasting, and it’s one of the fastest growing and exciting marketing mediums available to businesses in 2017. It’s […]

    Read more →
  • Content Marketing Features The Power of Personalised Content

    The Power of Personalised Content

    With the incessant growth of digital communications, newspapers and other publishers have been forced to come up with new ways to tell stories. Companies that are not in the publishing business, but use content as a part of their marketing strategy can learn a lot from these emerging storytelling tactics. When it comes to personalised content, gamification is king. The more you can learn programmatically – primarily using data for better targeting – about your customer or audience member, the […]

    Read more →
  • Features Social Media The Latest Social Media Fails

    The Latest Social Media Fails

    There’s one big flaw that all brands have that no one likes to talk about: they’re run by fallible, emotional and sometimes careless human beings. Every once in a great while, these humans make mistakes—they slip up all too publicly on their brands’ social media properties. When this happens, most us watch the disaster unfold with bewilderment at the stark stupidity of it all. While these mistakes often create backlash for brands, and sometimes a bit of recovery work, they’re not necessarily […]

    Read more →
  • Features News & Views Is All Publicity Good Publicity?

    Is All Publicity Good Publicity?

    We’ve all seen those marketing campaigns that went, oh, so very wrong. They’re often around to clog up our social media feeds for a couple of days, garner some negative attention, and then they die off. But the real question for marketers is: how damaging was the campaign to the brand? We’re taking a look at whether or not all publicity is good publicity, and whether you can expect to recover from a serious popular culture blunder. Everyone’s Goal: Good […]

    Read more →
  • News & Views Don’t Forget to Pat the Dog

    Don’t Forget to Pat the Dog

    A few days ago I posted an article called The Stupidity of Silence where I suggested that ceasing all contact when someone doesn’t give you what you want is a really dumb strategy. Here’s another one. We’re looking to sell our house at the moment. Part of the process is interviewing real estate agents. Theirs is an incredibly competitive business where all they’re offering is reputation and the perceived ability to persuade people to buy. The first agent who came […]

    Read more →
  • Content Marketing How to Make Your Content Actionable

    How to Make Your Content Actionable

    Content is not a magical formula that will make your target audience find your product and then breathlessly buy from you. The power of actionable content comes from your ability to attract the right audience, enabling them to interact with you and then to elevate that relationship to the next level i.e. for them to become a customer. So, how do you make your content actionable? Most importantly, you must give the reader, viewer or listener a sense of how they […]

    Read more →
  • News & Views The Stupidity of Silence

    The Stupidity of Silence

    It always astounds me when people in business don’t follow-up with a simple thank you email or even a note – when was the last time you received a handwritten thank you note? – after we’ve had some type of interaction.

    Read more →
  • Email Marketing Features What you Need to Know About Email Marketing for Mobile

    What you Need to Know About Email Marketing for Mobile

    It’s no secret that smartphones and tablets can no longer be ignored by email marketers—and there aren’t many more marketers out there doing so. It is a massive part of customer communication and revenue, but do you know just how massive? The following statistics come from all corners of the globe, and from many different industries. While they keep changing everyday, some are quite shocking. Here’s a brief description of everything you need to know about the power of email […]

    Read more →
  • Digital Marketing Features How to Reduce Your Media Spend & Achieve Better Results

    How to Reduce Your Media Spend & Achieve Better Results

    Digital marketing has changed the media landscape forever and marketing budgets are being spread across channels – mainly digital – that previously didn’t exist. The problem is that optimisation is not as simple as it was before; if you’re not careful, your spend can get out of hand. By optimising each of your channels, you can reduce your media spend and achieve better results – all the while proving a positive return on investment (ROI) for every dollar you spend. […]

    Read more →
  • Features News & Views Digital Marketing Lessons To Be Learnt From Donald Trump

    Digital Marketing Lessons To Be Learnt From Donald Trump

    Donald Trump teaching you marketing lessons? Seriously? Yes, seriously. Love him or hate him, Donald Trump has made the race for the White House fascinating. And fascinating doesn’t happen by chance. Exceptional marketing combined with good old fashioned, in-your-face salesmanship are central to the success of his campaign – so far. So putting aside your opinion on his politics, let’s look at what can be learned from Trump’s ‘Making America Great Again’ campaign. Know Your Audience Contrary to the opinion […]

    Read more →