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 “Historical documents at risk of neglect are being restored with the help of the King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Center for Historical Materials Conservation, with many government and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.”

BBC: Twitter removes thousands of Saudi ‘state-backed’ accounts

BBC: Twitter removes thousands of Saudi ‘state-backed’ accounts. “Twitter has banned almost 6,000 accounts for being part of an alleged state-backed information operation originating in Saudi Arabia. The social media network announced the bans in a public blog posted on Friday.”

New York Times: Why Spy on Twitter? For Saudi Arabia, It’s the Town Square

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.”