Arab News: Database gathers 2,000 items of virus-related info for Saudi researchers

Arab News: Database gathers 2,000 items of virus-related info for Saudi researchers. “The library of data includes study documents, print and online news articles, videos, and other relevant content from sources around the world. The comprehensive COVID-19 database has been compiled by the Center for Research and Knowledge Networking in Riyadh and covers a range of medical, economic, and social fields linked to the global virus outbreak.”

Wired: A Saudi Prince’s Attempt to Silence Critics on Twitter

Wired: A Saudi Prince’s Attempt to Silence Critics on Twitter. “IN 2014, MOHAMMED bin Salman’s uncle, King Abdullah, was nearing death. For more than 60 years, the Saudi crown had been passed from one son of the kingdom’s founder to the next, the heir being determined by a combination of seniority and consensus of the surviving brothers. Mohammed’s father, Crown Prince Salman, was set to inherit the throne upon Abdullah’s death. But anonymous Twitter users were spreading claims that Salman had dementia, and that presented a problem for Mohammed: If the rumors became accepted as fact by Saudis and foreigners, Salman’s brothers might feel pressure to elevate one of his rivals, cutting the Salman clan off from its claim to the throne and dashing Mohammed’s hopes of one day inheriting the crown.”

Saudi Arabia: Followers of arms sales groups on social media to face 10 years in prison (Gulf News)

Gulf News: Saudi Arabia: Followers of arms sales groups on social media to face 10 years in prison. “Arms and contraband sales groups threaten their followers on social media with jail time and a hefty fine for entering these groups and failing to report their violations to authorities, local media reported. Under Saudi laws, followers of these arms sales groups bear legal responsibility as they fail to report these groups to authorities, and would face imprisonment up to 10 years and a fine of 5 million Saudi riyals if these groups support terrorism.”

The Verge: US files expanded charges against former Twitter employees accused of espionage

The Verge: US files expanded charges against former Twitter employees accused of espionage. This is NOT the recent big hack; it’s from before. “The US has filed new and expanded charges against two former Twitter employees and a third individual for allegedly spying on behalf of the government of Saudi Arabia. The three men have now been charged with acting as agents of a foreign government, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and wire fraud. One individual, former Twitter employee Ahmad Abouammo, was also charged with three counts of money laundering and falsification of records to obstruct the investigation.”

New York Times: Late Action on Virus Prompts Fears Over Safety of U.S. Diplomats in Saudi Arabia

New York Times: Late Action on Virus Prompts Fears Over Safety of U.S. Diplomats in Saudi Arabia. “Inside the sprawling American Embassy compound in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, a coronavirus outbreak was spreading. Dozens of embassy employees became sick last month, and more than 20 others were quarantined after a birthday barbecue became a potential vector for the spread of the disease.”

CBS News: Saudi Arabia is battling a 2nd wave of coronavirus infections, making hajj unlikely

CBS News: Saudi Arabia is battling a 2nd wave of coronavirus infections, making hajj unlikely. “Saudi authorities started easing lockdown measures at the end of May, after the number of new infections recorded daily dropped by half to around 1,500. They reduced curfew times, allowed congregational prayers in mosques and domestic flights to resume, and businesses to reopen. But since June 1, the number of new COVID-19 cases confirmed every day has more than doubled again.”

Arab News: Itching to travel? Visit the wonders of AlUla … from home

Arab News: Itching to travel? Visit the wonders of AlUla … from home. “When Saudi Arabia’s ancient heritage site of AlUla announced it would open to the world in late 2020, it was on the bucket list of every fervent traveller. Who wouldn’t want to visit Hegra, the impressive Maraya Concert Hall or watch the sunset at Elephant Rock? As we approach the International Day for Monuments and Sites on April 18, it is worth commemorating these ancient lands with their 200,000 years of history — an area once pivotal for trade and the transmission of cultures, which connected Asia, Africa and Europe.”

Arab News: King Salman orders free coronavirus treatment in Saudi Arabia, including residency violators

Arab News: King Salman orders free coronavirus treatment in Saudi Arabia, including residency violators. “King Salman has ordered free treatment be provided to all coronavirus patients in all government and private health facilities in Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom’s health minister, Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al-Rabiah, announced the king’s order at a press conference in Riyadh on Monday and said it included citizens and residents – even those in violation of residency laws.”

BuzzFeed News: How Saudi Arabia Infiltrated Twitter

BuzzFeed News: How Saudi Arabia Infiltrated Twitter. “Ali Alzabarah was panicked. His heart raced as he drove home from Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters in the early evening on Dec. 2, 2015. He needed to leave the country — quickly. Earlier that day, Twitter’s management accused the unassuming 32-year-old of accessing thousands of user profiles without authorization to pass their identifying information — including phone numbers and IP addresses — reportedly to Bader al-Asaker, the head of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s charity and private office. When the conversation concluded, management seized Alzabarah’s laptop, put him on administrative leave, and escorted him out of the building.”

Middle East Eye: Saudi Arabia’s bot army flourishes as Twitter fails to tame the beast

Middle East Eye: Saudi Arabia’s bot army flourishes as Twitter fails to tame the beast. “You only need to search Twitter for a hashtag relating to a country in the Middle East to find one of these bot accounts. They typically copy-and-paste the same content, and feature a video clip with the distinctive Saudi 24 logo in the bottom right corner.”

Arab News: Archive departments are too often neglected, says director of Saudi historical materials conservation center

Arab News: Archive departments are too often neglected, says director of Saudi historical materials conservation center. “Historical documents at risk of neglect are being restored with the help of the King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Center for Historical Materials Conservation, with many government and private entities seeking the center’s assistance. In an exclusive interview with Arab News, the director of the center, Abdulrahman Al-Baiz, described how archive departments at many governmental and private entities are neglected.”

Stanford Internet Observatory: Analyzing a Twitter Takedown Originating in Saudia Arabia

Stanford Internet Observatory: Analyzing a Twitter Takedown Originating in Saudia Arabia. “On December 20, 2019 Twitter announced the removal of 88,000 accounts managed by Smaat, a digital marketing company based in Saudi Arabia, and attributed thousands of these accounts to involvement in ‘a significant state-backed information operation’. On December 17 Twitter shared with the Stanford Internet Observatory 32,054,257 tweets from 5,929 randomly sampled accounts. In this report we provide a first analysis of the data.”

Military .com: Pentagon Announces Plans to Monitor Foreign Trainees’ Social Media Posts

Military .com: Pentagon Announces Plans to Monitor Foreign Trainees’ Social Media Posts. “The Pentagon has completed re-screening all Saudi students in U.S. military training programs following a deadly Dec. 6 shooting rampage at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Defense Department officials announced Thursday. No indications of additional threats have surfaced, they said. Moving forward, DoD plans to increase vetting practices for Saudi Arabian and other foreign nationals in training at military bases in the U.S., including checks of their social media posts.”