Why has Osama Bin Laden's 'letter to America' gone viral on TikTok?

Why has Osama Bin Laden's 'letter to America' gone viral on TikTok?
Osama bin Laden was 'eager to replicate the 9/11 attacks' and plotted …
New York Post / VideoElephant

Osama bin Laden’s full “Letter to America” has gone viral on TikTok amid the Israel-Gaza conflict, sparking online debate.

Bin Laden was a Saudi-born militant and the founder of the Al-Qaeda terror group that orchestrated the 9/11 attacks in 2001. He was killed by the US Navy SEALs in 2011.

The infamous letter was written in 2002 and was shared and reported on at the time. But, since going viral on TikTok recently, the transcript was removed from The Guardian’s website on 15 November.

Why has the "Letter to America" gone viral on TikTok?

The letter gained notoriety once again after content creator Lynette Adkins urged other TikTokers to read it, explaining that she felt like she was having an “existential crisis”.

While the content wasn’t elaborated upon, others in the comments admitted to feeling the same way, with one person writing: “I am a politics student and I am so stunned! I feel numb.”

But, as the letter went viral, some hoping to read it were left stumped after it began to disappear from the internet.

Those trying to access the letter on The Guardian website have been met with a message that reads, “This page previously displayed a document containing, in translation, the full text of Osama’s “letter to the American people”, as reported in the Observer on Sunday 24 November 2002.

“The document, which was published here on the same day, was removed on 15 November 2023.”

In a statement to The Wrap, a spokesperson for the newspaper explained: “The transcript published on our website 20 years ago has been widely shared on social media without the full context. Therefore we have decided to take it down and direct readers to the news article that originally contextualized it instead.”

The full letter also appears to have been taken down from Reddit, though some on TikTok have pointed to ways users can still find it online.

Some have suggested the letter has gained more prominence amid America’s decision to support Israel in the ongoing war against Hamas in Palestine which is causing thousands of civilian deaths.

A TikTok spokesperson said in a statement: "Content promoting this letter clearly violates our rules on supporting any form of terrorism. We are proactively and aggressively removing this content and investigating how it got onto our platform.

"The number of videos on TikTok is small and reports of it trending on our platform are inaccurate. This is not unique to TikTok and has appeared across multiple platforms and the media."

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