Just when you thought his reputation couldn’t get worse, TikTok has officially canceled Osama bin Laden. Somehow, videos promoting Osama bin Laden’s letter explaining his reasoning for orchestrating the 9/11 terrorist attacks have gone viral this week and TikTok is responding with a crackdown on bin Laden stan accounts.
Bin Laden’s 2002 “Letter to America” has grabbed the attention of millions of social media users this week as people debate the conflict between Israel and Hamas as well as America’s role in foreign conflicts. He discusses the history of the Israel and Palestinian conflict and the impact of Jewish lobbyists on America’s foreign policy.
“Content promoting this letter clearly violates our rules on supporting any form of terrorism,” said TikTok in a post on X. “We are proactively and aggressively removing this content and investigating how it got onto our platform.”
TikTok also noted this is not unique to its app and has appeared across multiple platforms and media—and for once, TikTok is correct. A tweet on the letter from a Huffington Post Freelance Reporter, Yashar Ali, received over 26 million views. Ali sifted through many TikToks on the subject, and noted many users found the letter eye-opening saying “they’ll never see geopolitical matters the same way again.”
Google Trends shows that “Letter to America” has been on the rise since Nov. 14, but there was a sharp rise right around the time Ali’s tweet went viral.
The virality of “Letter to America” on X comes just a day after Elon Musk shared his opinions on Jews, randomly agreeing with a tweet saying Jewish communities encourage “hatred against whites.”
The White House also chimed in on the letter going viral.
“No one should ever insult the 2,977 American families still mourning loved ones by associating themselves with the vile words of Osama bin Laden,” White House deputy press secretary Andrew Bates told CNN on Thursday.
The Guardian removed its transcript of bin Laden’s letter from its site Wednesday, noting that the transcript “had been widely shared on social media without the full context.” The site now directs readers to the news articles that originally contextualized it.