New York Times: Why Spy on Twitter? For Saudi Arabia, It’s the Town Square. “Saudi Arabia provides no public spaces where citizens can gather to discuss news and politics. And the kingdom’s news media are state-owned or controlled, limiting the range of perspectives they carry. But many Saudi citizens have multiple cellphones and fast internet, which have led them to use Twitter to engage both with the world and with their fellow citizens. That has given the kingdom one of the world’s largest Twitterspheres.”
BBC: Ex-Twitter employees accused of spying for Saudi Arabia. “Two former employees of Twitter have been charged in the US for spying for Saudi Arabia. The charges, unsealed on Wednesday in San Francisco, allege that Saudi agents sought personal information about known Saudi critics and other Twitter users.”
Quartz: This Saudi prince now owns more of Twitter than Jack Dorsey does. “A Saudi prince has increased his holdings in Twitter, making him the company’s second largest shareholder. Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, who in 2011 invested $300 million in the social network, now owns 34.9 million shares of Twitter’s common stock, according to a new regulatory filing (pdf).” That’s almost 5.2% of the company. Dorsey owns 3.2% of the company. Ev Williams owns more than either of them.
CNN: Facebook announces first takedown of influence campaign with ties to Saudi government. “Facebook said Thursday it had found evidence of something cyber security and national security experts have long suspected: people tied to the government of Saudi Arabia have been running covert campaigns on Facebook and Instagram in a bid to prop up support for the kingdom and attack its enemies.”
Arab News: Ministry of Culture launches first national competition to document Saudi industrial heritage. “The Ministry of Culture launched the first day of the national competition to document the Kingdom’s industrial heritage on Sunday July 14. The competition aims to establish the first national database for all industrial sites that fall under this category, with the participation of Saudis and residents from all social segments.”
Slate: Saudis Fed Up With Twitter “Censorship” Jump Ship to a Pro-Trump Social Media Site. “Disdain for Twitter’s policies has spread to the Arabian Peninsula, where nearly 200,000 new users—largely from Saudi Arabia—flocked to a pro-Trump social media network called Parler. The users who left Twitter complained the site was suppressing their speech. The new Saudi users actually used Twitter to promote their migration to the new platform, posting hashtags like #Twexit and sharing cartoons and memes of the iconic blue Twitter bird in distress.”
Business Insider: Twitter mysteriously suspended several accounts linked to women who say they are refugees fleeing abuse in Saudi Arabia. “Twitter has suspended accounts claiming to belong to two Saudi Arabian sisters who fled the country to seek asylum, as well as the account of an activist who was posting on their behalf.”