ISIS / Oslo Freedom Forum

What It's Like To Get Mistaken For The Leader Of ISIS

Twitter hasn't explained why it suspended the account of an anti-ISIS activist who happens to have a similar last name as the ISIS leader.

By Elizabeth Hagedorn | January 1, 2016

Did Twitter confuse this man with the leader of ISIS?

"I would expect this kind of mistake from a lazy journalist, but I wouldn’t expect it from Twitter," Iyad El-Baghdadi said. 

Iyad El-Baghdadi is an entrepreneur, writer and Arab Spring activist. (Video via Oslo Freedom Forum)

Article Continues Below

He's (obviously) not that Baghdadi. 

"I’m basically the polar opposite of ISIS. Everything I speak about is basically the antidote to ISIS," El-Baghdadi said.  

Bizarrely, some news outlets mixed them up. 

Twitter might have, too. It briefly suspended his account. 

"They just said, ‘You violated the Twitter rule,'" El-Baghdadi said. 

Twitter did not respond to Newsy's request for comment. 

Its rules ban "abusive behavior" and "hateful content." 

El-Baghdadi's posts were anything but. 

"There are lots of actual trolls out there. I even try to report some of them and nothing happens. To the point that now I don’t even bother reporting because I don’t think anything will happen. I don’t trust the process anymore," El-Baghdadi said.  

In late 2014, ISIS supporters were operating at least 46,000 Twitter accounts, according to a study by the Brookings Institution

Want to see more stories like this?
Like Newsy on Facebook for More World Coverage