Saudi cleric issues first Twitter fatwa – buying followers is sinful
You my fellow social media users have been warned.
It isn’t often we come across the word fatwa in social media, but oddly today it has come up twice.
It makes for an interesting read as it essentially translates the behaviour we do in the online world into the real world and adds a moral dimension to it.
Buying followers is clearly a very stupid thing to do. Dishonest? Probably. Sinful? I’m really not the one to ask.
The truth is that bought followers are next to worthless and people quickly find you out as we wrote about recently with the case of Mark Clark.
Still no one would expect a religious edict to be issued at least not in the UK. To be fair though this isn’t a Salman Rushdie level — go into hiding and fear for your life — kind of fatwa.
In Saudi Arabia, a senior cleric has condemned the practice as “dishonest and mendacious”, following a revelation that several high-profile Saudis were buying “phantom followers”.
While we mock the surfeit of fatwas emanating from the Saudi clergy – tackling everything from personal grooming to Mickey Mouse – this one seemed to genuinely hit the nail on the head. Prior to his pronouncement, the manager of a Saudi marketing company had told the press that it had sold “bundles” of Twitter followers, Facebook fans and YouTube “likes” to “sportsmen, businessmen, poets and clerics”, but preferred not to name names. Soon after this revelation, Sheikh Abdullah declared that not only was buying Twitter followers really sad, it was also sinful and dishonest.
The term “fatwa” may conjure up images of death sentences and men demonstrating with effigies on spikes, but at its most prosaic, a fatwa is merely a religious opinion that deems something to be unacceptable – the Sheikh simply issued a sobering condemnation of online behaviour and the excesses of social networking, the Guardian writes.