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CurrentMiddle East

Saudi Arabia bribing Twitter employees in order to spy on dissidents

CurrentMiddle East

Saudi Arabia bribing Twitter employees in order to spy on dissidents

One such shocking example of the direct connection between Twitter and Saudi Arabia’s crackdown is the arrest of Sheikh Salman Al-Odah, who simply tweeted a prayer that God bring all Muslims together during the Saudi-Doha rift, expressing his hopes for a reconciliation with Qatar. He was quickly arrested in 2017 for criticising the government, and is still awaiting trial.

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It has been revealed that the US government has recently charged two former Twitter employees with spying for the government of Saudi Arabia, after it became known that they had infiltrated the personal data and information of more than 6,000 Twitter accounts of numerous dissidents and critics of the Saudi regime.

These employees were reportedly bribed and recruited by Saudi agents, who paid them tens of thousands of dollars. On behalf of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, these employees were instructed to spy and pass on personal information about numerous critics of the Saudi government.

Twitter is still heavily used within Saudi Arabia, with many turning to Twitter to express discontent and anger at the current regime. Many Saudi youth have therefore turned to Twitter to call on the government to cease its numerous human rights abuses and express other concerns aimed at the Crown Prince, under the pretext of being protected under the anonymity that the internet and Twitter can provide.

One year after Khashoggi’s murder, Saudi Arabia has only increased its human rights violations

Saudi dissidents abroad and in exile have also taken to Twitter to express their political views – however they too are closely monitored by the Saudi regime and its spies within Twitter. Many Saudi students abroad have been told by consulate staff that their passports can no longer be renewed unless they return to Saudi Arabia – which many claim is a trap in order to detain them for their views expressed online.

With Saudi Arabia’s harsh crackdown on the freedom of speech and campaign of imprisoning anyone who dares speak criticism of the government, it had become dangerously worrying for not only ordinary Saudi citizens, but also in terms of Twitter’s accountability. Not only have two employees (so far) been charged with spying for the Saudi regime, but it has also been revealed that Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in June of 2016.

This meeting spurred debate over the company’s accountability, as it came only six months after it was revealed that a Saudi spy and infiltrater, Ali Alzabarah, had hacked over 5,500 records on Twitter in supposed connection with the Saudi regime. Saudi Arabia and Twitter, despite these bumpy incidents, seem to be getting along regardless, as the regime continues to crack down on dissents on Twitter.

One such shocking example of the direct connection between Twitter and Saudi Arabia’s crackdown is the arrest of Sheikh Salman Al-Odah, who simply tweeted a prayer that God bring all Muslims together during the Saudi-Doha rift, expressing his hopes for a reconciliation with Qatar. He was quickly arrested in 2017 for criticising the government, and is still awaiting trial.

Al-Odah is but one example of the many citizens, dissents, journalists, and human rights activists who remain locked in jail – simply for expressing their thoughts or calling for the protection of basic human rights. In 2019 alone, more than 130 citizens were executed in Saudi Arabia, most of whom were critics of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s increasingly authoritarian dictatorship.

As Saudi Arabia continues to move with impunity, while it operates without backlash its horrendous war in Yemen as well as its harsh crackdown on dissent within the kingdom, it remains to be seen for how long the world will remain silent. Journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, orchestrated by the Saudi regime, remains fresh in the minds of many. And as for now, Twitter’s dubious connections to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia remain worrying at best, as ordinary citizens and critics continue to languish in prison for simply tweeting an opinion.

Whilst you’re here…

The Muslim Vibe is a non-profit media platform aiming to inspire, inform and empower Muslims like you. Our goal is to provide a space for young Muslims to learn about their faith as well as news stories affecting them, so we can reclaim the Muslim narrative from the mainstream.

Your support will help us achieve this goal, and enable us to produce more original content. Your support can help us in the fight against Islamophobia, by building a powerful platform for young Muslims who can share their ideas, experiences and opinions for a better future.

Please consider supporting The Muslim Vibe, from as little as £1 – it will only take a minute. Thank you and Jazakallah.

Keep Reading

One such shocking example of the direct connection between Twitter and Saudi Arabia’s crackdown is the arrest of Sheikh Salman Al-Odah, who simply tweeted a prayer that God bring all Muslims together during the Saudi-Doha rift, expressing his hopes for a reconciliation with Qatar. He was quickly arrested in 2017 for criticising the government, and is still awaiting trial.

It has been revealed that the US government has recently charged two former Twitter employees with spying for the government of Saudi Arabia, after it became known that they had infiltrated the personal data and information of more than 6,000 Twitter accounts of numerous dissidents and critics of the Saudi regime.

These employees were reportedly bribed and recruited by Saudi agents, who paid them tens of thousands of dollars. On behalf of the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, these employees were instructed to spy and pass on personal information about numerous critics of the Saudi government.

Twitter is still heavily used within Saudi Arabia, with many turning to Twitter to express discontent and anger at the current regime. Many Saudi youth have therefore turned to Twitter to call on the government to cease its numerous human rights abuses and express other concerns aimed at the Crown Prince, under the pretext of being protected under the anonymity that the internet and Twitter can provide.

One year after Khashoggi’s murder, Saudi Arabia has only increased its human rights violations

Saudi dissidents abroad and in exile have also taken to Twitter to express their political views – however they too are closely monitored by the Saudi regime and its spies within Twitter. Many Saudi students abroad have been told by consulate staff that their passports can no longer be renewed unless they return to Saudi Arabia – which many claim is a trap in order to detain them for their views expressed online.

With Saudi Arabia’s harsh crackdown on the freedom of speech and campaign of imprisoning anyone who dares speak criticism of the government, it had become dangerously worrying for not only ordinary Saudi citizens, but also in terms of Twitter’s accountability. Not only have two employees (so far) been charged with spying for the Saudi regime, but it has also been revealed that Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in June of 2016.

This meeting spurred debate over the company’s accountability, as it came only six months after it was revealed that a Saudi spy and infiltrater, Ali Alzabarah, had hacked over 5,500 records on Twitter in supposed connection with the Saudi regime. Saudi Arabia and Twitter, despite these bumpy incidents, seem to be getting along regardless, as the regime continues to crack down on dissents on Twitter.

One such shocking example of the direct connection between Twitter and Saudi Arabia’s crackdown is the arrest of Sheikh Salman Al-Odah, who simply tweeted a prayer that God bring all Muslims together during the Saudi-Doha rift, expressing his hopes for a reconciliation with Qatar. He was quickly arrested in 2017 for criticising the government, and is still awaiting trial.

Al-Odah is but one example of the many citizens, dissents, journalists, and human rights activists who remain locked in jail – simply for expressing their thoughts or calling for the protection of basic human rights. In 2019 alone, more than 130 citizens were executed in Saudi Arabia, most of whom were critics of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s increasingly authoritarian dictatorship.

As Saudi Arabia continues to move with impunity, while it operates without backlash its horrendous war in Yemen as well as its harsh crackdown on dissent within the kingdom, it remains to be seen for how long the world will remain silent. Journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, orchestrated by the Saudi regime, remains fresh in the minds of many. And as for now, Twitter’s dubious connections to the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia remain worrying at best, as ordinary citizens and critics continue to languish in prison for simply tweeting an opinion.

Whilst you’re here…

The Muslim Vibe is a non-profit media platform aiming to inspire, inform and empower Muslims like you. Our goal is to provide a space for young Muslims to learn about their faith as well as news stories affecting them, so we can reclaim the Muslim narrative from the mainstream.

Your support will help us achieve this goal, and enable us to produce more original content. Your support can help us in the fight against Islamophobia, by building a powerful platform for young Muslims who can share their ideas, experiences and opinions for a better future.

Please consider supporting The Muslim Vibe, from as little as £1 – it will only take a minute. Thank you and Jazakallah.

Keep Reading

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