Twitter removes accounts promoting Saudi government

Twitter removes accounts promoting Saudi government
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Twitter announced Friday that it had suspended a small number of accounts for spreading pro-Saudi messaging disguised as news content amid efforts to battle spam accounts on the platform.

In a lengthy blog post, the company announced the results of investigations into various countries' efforts to spread information on the platform, including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

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The investigation into Saudi-linked accounts resulted in the suspension of Saud al-Qahtani, a former media consultant to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as well as six other accounts linked to "coordinated efforts to amplify messaging that was beneficial to the Saudi government."

Al-Qahtani, who also previously served as an adviser to Saudi King Salman, was dismissed last year over claims of his involvement in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S.-based Washington Post columnist.

"While active, the accounts in this set presented themselves as independent journalistic outlets while tweeting narratives favorable to the Saudi government," Twitter's statement read.

The site also claimed that a number of spam accounts linked to Saudi Arabia were suspended, though no data on how many were affected was immediately available.

"We continue to suspend a range of accounts for other types of political spam violations in Saudi Arabia. As ever, we will disclose any attribution we can reliably make to state actors if and when we learn them," the blog post continued.

The company regularly posts updates on accounts suspended for violating the platform's terms of service, and in May announced that more than 160,000 accounts were suspended in the second half of 2018 for promoting terrorist content on the platform.