Sticks or Stones: Why is Saud Al-Qahtani Still on Twitter?

Published December 5th, 2018 - 02:17 GMT

Amid the political instability in Saudi Arabia that surrounded the Jamal Khashoggi killing in October 2, Saud Al-Qahtani’s name has been attracting increasing attention.

Speculations on Qahtani responsibility over Khashoggi murder heavily increased resulting in Qahtani being fired from his position as a top aide to the Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, aka MBS.

Later on, social media users noticed that Qahtani’s biography on Twitter was edited to have his new position as a chairman of the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones. This came at a time while Saudi government confirmed he was being investigated over relations to Khashoggi killing.

Qahtani has been a controversial name since the Khashoggi story flooded into international awareness. He is believed to be behind the Saudi cyber army, or as called the electronic bots of Saudi Arabia.

After the rise in speculations surrounding Qahtani, social media users circulated a screenshot for one of his tweets in which he confirms that he had never done anything without his boss’ approval - referring to MBS.

Translation: “Do you think I did anything without guidance? I am an employee and an executor of the orders of my boss the King and his Highness Crown Prince.”

Now, around two months after Khashoggi story, Twitter is being put under pressure to suspend Qahtani’s verified account as he is being accused of the gruesome murder of Khashoggi.

Twitter is also accused of giving a space for Qahtani to spread his propaganda and ideas, which go against the principles of any normal society.

While Qahtani remains on twitter, an account called "De-Sanitized News “@opdesanitize” that is known for circulating real images and stories from the Yemeni war -  showing the level of humanitarian crisis taking place there for all the world to see - was b riefly taken down. 

Users went on to wonder about the reason that lead Twitter and its CEO to take a decision of suspending De-Sanitized News account while keeping Qahtani’s verified account available.

Social media platforms have been facing increasing pressure around the world. In the West, they are accused of liberal-bias against conservatives, which was clear in many cases.

In the Middle East, social media platforms are believed to be controlled by some governments. The latest was accusing the regional headquarters in Dubai of having spies who work in favour of the Saudi and Emirati governments.


Read More: Twitter’s Dubai HQ ِAccused of Being Infiltrated by Saudi Agents

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