‘Call Of Duty’ Terrorist Attack: Singapore Not Amused

A publicity stunt has seen Call of Duty live tweeting a terrorist attack in Singapore. The Call of Duty Twitter account changed its profile picture and name to imitate the appearance of a generic news outlet before posting a series of tweets purporting to be breaking news of an attack on Singapore’s popular tourist magnet Marina Bay.

Call of Duty Black Ops III
The temporary “Current Events Aggregate” banner

The tweets were posted by the newly branded Twitter account “Current Events Aggregate,” which has since been changed back to Call of Duty. Terrorist attack tweets were preceded by a seemingly random handful tweets about film and fashion stories, presumably to enhance the realism of what was to follow.

A series of 18 tweets purporting to be live updates followed the progress of the terrorist attack. The words Call of Duty were in very small grey text within the tweets, but confusion was still caused by the posts as people attempted to determine whether Singapore was, in fact, under attack. The more astute followers would have been able to determine fairly quickly that the terrorist attack was not real. Even without clicking through the tweets to find the username, there were tweets like the one below that caused the more thoughtful and more knowledgeable to become skeptical.

Singapore is only 31 square miles in total.

Eventually, the series of tweets ended with a simple declaration from Call of Duty‘s account, by now restored to its usual appearance, announcing that the whole thing had been a promotional event.

IGN has been openly disapproving of the publicity stunt. Call of Duty‘s Twitter account has 2.88 million followers and, according to IGN, mass panic was a potential consequence of the fake terrorist attack. Call of Duty’s previous trailer was an underwhelming effort, being a dry briefing catching us up on the back story so far, and IGN wondered why Activision had resorted to this “cheap” tactic instead of just releasing a more spectacular trailer. Other outlets were similarly disapproving, with many publicly asking how Activision could justify exploiting the tragic empathy generated even by a fake terrorist attack. Call of Duty‘s efforts were, admittedly, fairly transparent, but IGN and others pointed out that in the world we currently live in, any kind of coverage of a terrorist attack, real or imagined, could have serious consequences — not least of all for those who have actually had to live through them.

Call of Duty Terrorist Attack
Call of Duty opens its campaign in Singapore

Digital Spy was similarly miffed. In an article on the fake terrorist attack, the publication called Activision’s judgement into question, pointing to the real world concern that was caused by the ploy.

Least amused of all, however, was Singapore. The Straits Times reported that Singapore’s netizens were outraged and had taken to the web to call the fake terrorist attack “Sick” and “a shame”.

“Have some respect for Singapore, such a shame.”

Singaporean commentators were mostly horrified by the news of the terrorist attack until discovering that it was fake. Singapore has a large international diaspora that closely follows news from home.

Call of Duty‘s campaign, which won’t be available on last gen consoles, has its opening mission set in Singapore in the year 2065. The campaign snub to last gen consoles and the frankly odd Treyarch trailer may have alienated a large number of potential buyers already, and now perhaps even more due to this fake terrorist attack. Call of Duty is due for release on November 6.

[Images via Twitter/Activision]

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