Meme-minded internet users take a quack—er, crack at the slick propaganda the terrorist group has become known for.
Image via Imgur
There’s a new weapon in the fight against terrorist group ISIS: rubber ducks.
Granted, the squeaky bath toys may not be as effective at eliminating enemy combatants as standard munitions, nor as successful at curtailing ISIS’s extensive digital communications capacity as ongoing cyber-espionage efforts, but they have turned the typically fearsome terrorist network into an online laughingstock, and taken a bite out of the group’s reputation as masters of digital propaganda.
The campaign to duck-ify ISIS imagery reportedly comes from the message boards on 4Chan, the anarchic, anonymous breeding ground for some of the internet’s most recognizable—and oftentimes astonishingly offensive—memes, trends, and practical jokes (LOLcats and rickrolling are on the more family-friendly side of things, with Gamergate and 2014’s celebrity photo hacking scandal on the other end of the spectrum). There, an anonymous poster kicked things off with a simple, absurd request:
Image via Imgur
What followed was an outpouring of photoshopped pictures—many of which have collected in this Imgur album—each more, er, fowl than the last.
Some people went for the obvious, superimposing rubber ducky pictures over the faces of ISIS militants:
Others took it a step further, modifying not only the ISIS members themselves, but the group’s infamous flag as well:
Some even took the opportunity to poke fun at media coverage of the terrorist group:
According to The Guardian, the duck-iffication took off after being shared from 4Chan onto Reddit, with hundreds of memes being created as a result.
4Chan’s effort to fight terror with memes comes on the heels of two other grassroots efforts to take on the extremist group in cyberspace. In mid-November, members of the hacktivist collective known as Anonymous (itself an offspring of 4Chan) began coordinated efforts to expose the online presence of ISIS after the terrorist attacks on Paris. Also following those attacks, Belgian citizens took to Twitter to share pictures of vigilant felines as their country’s authorities effectively placed Brussels on lockdown during a days-long search for suspected terrorist operatives.