Hacking group Anonymous is using Rick Astley's famous "Never Gonna Give You Up" video to "rickroll" ISIS. The group is infiltrating Internet links and social media posts pertaining to the terrorist group and redirecting them to Astley's 1987 music video.
Until now, Rickrolling has generally been used as a harmless Internet prank, but now it is being used in a war that has much bigger stakes — the war on terrorism.
It's been recently publicized that one of the strongholds of the ISIS terrorist group is its use of social media and the Internet to inform and recruit members. In the wake of the recent terror attacks in Paris, hacking group Anonymous has pledged to increase their activities in trying to disrupt ISIS online recruitment attempts and use of the Internet to spread hateful propaganda, and now they have added Rickrolling to their hacking repertoire.
"Hello, citizens of the world. We are Anonymous. It is time to realize that social media is a solid platform for ISIS's communication as well as neutering their ideas of terror amongst youth," the group said. "However, at the same time, social media has proved it is an advanced weapon. We must all work together and use social media to eliminate the accounts used by terrorists. ISIS, we will hunt you and take down your sites, accounts, emails and expose you. From now on, there is no safe place for you online. You will be treated like a virus, and we are the cure."
Online jihadists looking for legitimate information about the terrorist group are clicking on links, which have been infiltrated by Anonymous and instead direct them to Astley's video.
The Rickrolling concept began in 2008 on the 4chan message boards and soon became a worldwide phenomenon. Pranksters would purport to be placing a link to useful information about a subject and the clicker would instead be directed to the music video of Astley performing his 1987 hit, which reached number one in numerous countries, including the U.S. and U.K.
While Rickrolling has subsequently been used as a form of political protest, it hasn't been used in a high stakes activity as serious as the war on terrorism until now. In an ironic twist, the proliferation of the concept has revived the career of the former pop star, who is now set to perform a headlining tour in a series of cities across the U.K. in April of 2016.