Hashtag hijacking, the focus of this essay, is one such tactic from ISIS’ strategic communication; it produces a spectacular clashing of texts, worlds, and audiences, and results in a disorientation and virtual encroachment of space. In turn, it gives unprecedented proximity to the phones, hands, eyes, and ears of ordinary people around the world who would not necessarily have had direct and immediate exposure to messages from such groups before. While some work does exist examining the weaponization of social media (Nissen, 2015), a more thorough reading of specific tactics would expand our understanding not only of the ISIS war machine (Kraidy, 2017) but also of the role of new media technologies and practices in today’s global conflicts. This essay first explores the idea of hijacking and then delves into examples of its practice.
Published in Volume 10, Issue 56