It’s probably something to do with the nearly 3,000 people that were killed, but folks tend to get a little touchy about 9/11. I’m not going to tell people what to do or say, but in my experience you’re probably best off avoiding giving the impression that you might use a plane as a 179,000kg missile full of jet fuel against a large structure in a metropolitan area. It’s just not worth the risk. The operators of what Saudi state media has described as an “official government Twitter account” are probably of a similar mind now, after the account was deleted over a post that was interpreted as a threat to 9/11 the CN Tower.
This one requires a little bit of context: Saudi Arabia and Canada are experiencing some diplomatic tension after Canada’s foreign ministry publicly criticised Saudi Arabia’s imprisonment of a number human rights activists. Saudi Arabia responded by freezing cultural exchange programs with Canada, suspending direct flights to Toronto via their state airline, freezing all trade, and giving the Canadian ambassador 24 hours to leave.
The tweet in question was put out by the now-deleted @infographic_ksa, which billed itself as “voluntary non-profit project” run by “a group of Saudi youth“. The Washington Post referred to the Saudi state media description that categorised it as being an official government account but said that the relationship between it and the government was “unclear“.
The tweet showed an image of an Air Canada plane super-imposed onto an image of the Toronto skyline, giving the impression it was heading towards the CN Tower, accompanied by the text “Sticking one’s nose in where it doesn’t belong!” and “He who interferes with what doesn’t concern him finds what doesn’t please him.”
Now deleted, here a screenshot of the threatening Saudi “infographic” featuring an airliner headed for the Toronto skyline. pic.twitter.com/LrkCLxxjFk
— Tobias Schneider (@tobiaschneider) August 6, 2018
After swift backlash, the image was re-uploaded, this time without the plane. The account posted an apology, claiming that the message had been misconstrued: “The aircraft was intended to symbolize the return of the ambassador. We realize this was not clear and any other meaning was unintentional.”
Following this, the Saudi Ministry of Media made a post saying that the manager of the account had been ordered to take it down, and that an investigation would be taking place.
Based on a complaint filed to the ministery of Media about a post by @Infographic_ksa, the ministry has ordered the owner of the account to shut it down until investigations are completed, according to electronic broadcasting laws in KSA. pic.twitter.com/jD2maoOyEV
— وزارة الإعلام (@media_ksa) August 6, 2018
The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, a law passed by the US Congress in 2016, cleared the way for the families of roughly 800 victims and roughly 1,500 first responders to launch a class action lawsuit against the Saudi Arabian government for alleged involvement in the 9/11 attacks, although any involvement by the Saudi government is yet to be proven.