If this isn’t a key lesson in “watch what you tweet”, I don’t know what is: The (now former) Palestinian envoy to Canada was removed from her post after she retweeted a link to a video that was extremely offensive to Jews.
Canadian newspaper The Globe And Mail reports that Linda Sobeh Ali was removed from her position in Ottawa by the Palestinian Authority to “avoid harming relations with Canada.”
The drastic step to remove this diplomat from her post follows a blow-out over something that she retweeted earlier this month.
Ali sent a tweet to her followers saying “Check this video out” and linking to a YouTube video that shows a young Palestinian girl shouting a poem in Arabic, with English subtitles calling for a “war that raze the injustice and oppression and destroy the Jews.”
Following Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird learning of the tweet, he and other in the government complained to Ali and the Palestian Authority directly.
About two weeks after she had sent the offensive tweet, Ali was told to pack her things and leave Canada by this weekend.
In her defense, Ali claims that she did not click over to the video before retweeting it, so she had no idea that it contained offensive content. She says that she was on a mobile phone and did not have time to check the link.
This high-profile political gaffe follows closely on the heels of an article I wrote yesterday decrying the trend of retweeting before reading the contents of a link. It makes the issue all the more potent.
If a diplomat can make such a huge error in judgement simply by not verifying the links she is tweeting, it can happen to you. Not only do you need to verify the links you’re retweeting to ensure the Twitter ecosystem remains in balance, but also to protect your reputation – and possibly even your job.