According to this source and some memes I saw, Bin Laden's legacy lives on:

Twenty-two years after he masterminded the 9/11 terror attacks, and 12 years after he was killed by U.S. special forces while cowering in his Pakistani bolthole, al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden is back in the headlines.

The reasons: TikTok + Gen Z + the Guardian + the Israel-Hamas war = a big comeback for the terror king.

The article is dated 17 November 2023. Was Bin Laden trending on TikTok at the time the article was published?

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    Hitler is trending on tiktok too. My son pointed this out to me; one has to search for "Austrian painter" to confirm. In fact if you compare the results, you'll see that Hitler is more of a significant trend. Not sure what the skeptical angle is here... you can search tiktok's website yourself. Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 11:06
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    The article doesn't say that it was "trending" which would mean it was topping their charts for popularity. It does cite CNN's numbers, which CNN itself has more clearly stated: "Many of the videos were shared with the hashtag #lettertoamerica. By Thursday, views of those videos had exceeded 14 million". As these articles say, the hashtag was removed from TikTok and many videos deleted, and (according to CNN), TikTok won't comment on it, so the only places that will have the numbers are likely to be news outlets not too different from the one you linked.
    – Laurel
    Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 13:06
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    Trends are nebulous. The answer to this question may well have been "yes" at the time the article was published but "no" by the time you asked this. I've edited the question to focus on the former, i.e. whether Bin Laden was trending when the article was published.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Nov 20, 2023 at 15:54
  • Any reason for being skeptical of the claim? Your quote only says "bin Laden is back in the headlines", which can be trivially proven. Commented Nov 21, 2023 at 0:30
  • @Laurel: actually they did kinda comment "While TikTok said reports of it trending were inaccurate, the #lettertoamerica hashtag on TikTok had 13.7 million views as of Thursday afternoon. "Letter to America" also trended on X, the platform formally known as Twitter, where there were more than 82,000 posts." cbsnews.com/news/… Commented Nov 21, 2023 at 0:35

1 Answer 1


Yes, Bin Laden was trending on TikTok around that date. This is well documented by several news publications. Shortly after this trend began, TikTok removed the videos in question, noting that they violate its policies.


  • Time Magazine: "Why Osama bin Laden’s ‘Letter to America’ Went Viral on TikTok", Nov. 16th
  • France 24: "Osama bin Laden goes viral on TikTok as part of worrying new trend", Nov. 17th
  • The Hill: "9/11 families call out TikTok over Osama bin Laden trend", Nov. 17th
  • Fox 5 local news: "Bin Laden letter trend reignites TikTok debate", Nov. 28th
  • Washington Post: "Why Osama bin Laden’s ‘Letter to America’ went viral, 21 years later", Nov. 16th (title has been changed now after publication)

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