Syria’s Bashar al-Assad Fails ‘Social Media Makeovers for Dictators’

You’re probably sick of hearing about Bashar al-Assad, “president” of Syria, and the various things that make him A Very Bad Guy. We’re not going to get into the whole “should we or shouldn’t we” political game, because it’s awful. But it’s worth noting that the PR teams advising Mr. al-Assad (because there are such people!) have spent the summer trying to burnish his image—and failing miserably.

Today we checked out the official “syrianpresidencyInstagram account for the first time, and we can’t say we were too terribly impressed. While yesterday’s Facebook study revealed that the social networks are great PR tools as long as you use them to spread personal, endearing message, social doesn’t work so well for talking points propaganda.

Here’s “The public likes and respects me”:

Here’s “My wife loves charity work”:

Here’s “I was a handsome young man, so how could I be a murderous dictator?”:

Most Instagrammers have taken the occasion to let al-Assad know exactly how they feel in comments often including the word “hell” and other, less printable curses. In case anyone has the (extremely well-paid) misfortune to represent a shamed politician or international dictator, please note that you do not bring the wife to the press conference, you do not post pictures of soup kitchens because nobody buys that crap, and you definitely do not write a political SOP supposedly created by the 11-year-old son daring foreigners to attack.

Wow, that’s disturbing.