Last week, a former Twitter employee was sentenced to 42 months in prison for spying on behalf of Saudi Arabia. This is the latest development in an ongoing story involving the alleged attempts by Saudi Arabia to manipulate public opinion and silence critics using social media networks like Twitter. Here’s what we know so far and why this scandal matters.
Background of the Case
In November 2019, Ahmad Abouammo—a former manager at Twitter—was arrested by FBI agents on charges that he had provided sensitive user information of three people to representatives of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). In exchange for his services, Abouammo allegedly received a watch valued at $20,000 and thousands of dollars in cash from KSA representatives. In October 2020, Abouammo pleaded guilty to two counts of acting as an agent for a foreign government without notifying the U.S. Department of Justice. On December 2nd, 2020 he was sentenced to 42 months in prison.
What We Know about KSA’s Alleged Scheme
The incident involving Abouammo is only one part of a larger story that involves allegations that KSA has been attempting to manipulate public opinion and silence critics via social media networks such as Twitter. In 2018, reports emerged that KSA had hired hundreds of online trolls who posed as American citizens on Twitter in order to spread pro-KSA propaganda and attack individuals who criticized the regime. Later that year, reports surfaced that KSA had contracted with an Israeli company called NSO Group which developed malware targeted at journalists living outside KSA who were critical of the government.
Why This Scandal Matters
This scandal matters because it highlights how vulnerable individuals can be when they use social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook where their data can be accessed by those with malicious intent such as foreign governments or hackers looking to steal personal information for identity theft purposes. It also serves as a reminder that foreign governments are actively engaged in covert operations aimed at manipulating public opinion worldwide via social media platforms which can have serious implications for democracy and free speech around the world if left unchecked.
The sentencing of Ahmad Abouammo serves as a stark reminder that no matter how powerful or influential you may be, there are consequences for actions taken against your own country’s interests or laws. It also serves as an important wake-up call for all users of social media platforms like Twitter – take necessary steps to protect yourself online by safeguarding your personal data from those with malicious intent such as foreign governments or hackers looking to steal your data for identity theft purposes. By taking these precautions, you can help keep yourself safe while still enjoying all the benefits that come along with using these popular websites.