Conflict & Justice

Al Jazeera Twitter account hacked by Bashar al-Assad's supporters


The Al Jazeera English newsroom in Doha, Qatar.


Mohamed Nanabhay

One of Al Jazeera's official Twitter accounts has been hacked by supporters of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

For several hours today, tweets from @AJStream, the account for the network's social-media show The Stream, carried a distinctly pro-government message.

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They are critical of Syrian rebels fighting to overthrow Assad, of other Arab states that have called for him to go, and of media and human rights organizations that they accuse of misrepresenting the conflict.

For example: 

In other tweets, the hacker or hackers accuse Amnesty International of "participating in the murder of Syrians," and tell NATO it "won't stand a chance against Syria's military."

Al Jazeera's executive producer for programming, James Wright, confirmed from his Twitter account that @AJStream had been hacked. He said the network was working on it, and advised followers not to click on any links included in the imposter tweets.

One of the messages claims the "Syrian Electronic Army" is behind the attack.

According to the Associated Press, the group has already carried out several cyber attacks against targets that it sees as sympathetic to the Syrian opposition.

This strike comes on the same day that Wikileaks announced it would release millions of emails exchanged between Syrian officials.

At the time of writing, there hadn't been any new tweets for at least two hours. At least some users will be sorry to see the hackers locked out: they retweeted a number of messages from people claiming that they prefered the hacked @AJStream to the real one.

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