Skip to main content

Israel invites Twitter to #AskNetanyahu… and lives to regret it

The #AskNetanyahu hashtag quickly became the biggest trending item on Twitter in Israel
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has his eyes closed as he opens the weekly cabinet meeting on 10 April, 2016 (AFP)

A social media campaign launched by Israel’s Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu appears to have backfired, just minutes after it was launched with scores of people taking to Twitter to ridicule him on Tuesday. 

The live Q&A is set to take place on 13:30 GMT or 3:30pm local time on Thursday but as soon as the prime minister’s office announced the #AskNetanyahu scheme, social media users jumped on the hashtag to ask questions about corruption and allegations of war crimes. The Q&A was launched to honour the country's Independence Day. 

The #AskNetanyahu hashtag quickly became the biggest trending item on Twitter in Israel. 

The publicity stunt harks back to a failed Hamas campaign in March 2015 where the group invited people to ask it questions via the #AskHamas hashtag that similarly appeared to attract more ridicule and abuse than genuine questions.

But it is not just politicians who have been burned by the curse of the interactive Twitter Q&A. In 2013, a similar bid by energy company British Gas was dubbed the “Titanic of PR campaigns” after the firm asked customers to #AskBG the same day that the company announced an almost 10 percent price hike.