Twitter ‘gave Saudi Arabia information about journalist who ended up dead’

Twitter ‘gave Saudi Arabia information about journalist who ended up dead’

By Lucy Middleton Friday 9 Nov 2018 7:41 pm

Twitter has come under fire after another dissident journalist was reportedly tortured and killed in Saudi Arabia.

Turki Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Jasser was arrested on March 15 for allegedly running a Twitter account called Kashkool, which exposed human rights violations by Saudi authorities and royals.

He then died while being tortured in detention, The New Khaleej states – prompting fresh outrage over an alleged leak of information that lead to his capture.

‘They got his information from the Twitter office in Dubai. That is how he was arrested,’ a source, who wishes to remain anonymous, told

‘Twitter has become insecure for dissidents or critics. Everyone speaks under threat and pressure.

‘The accounts of Saudi dissidents are spied on. We are not safe using Twitter.’

The source also claimed that Saud al-Qahtani, the former adviser to the Royal Court, leads a ‘cyber spy ring’ and has contacts inside the Dubai Twitter office.

They allege that a so-called ‘Twitter mole’ handed over information on Al-Jasser, leading to his arrest earlier this year.

They’re not the only one. After news of Al-Jasser’s alleged death broke, many people began using the hashtag #TwitterKilledTurkiAlJasser in an attempt to call out the platform for being ‘unsafe’.

‘We want justice for activists who arrested because of Twitter,’ one person tweeted.

Another said: ‘Twitter [is] not safe any more’, while a third wrote: ‘Twitter must revise its privacy policy. Literally, lives are at stake here.’

Al-Qahtani, who was dismissed from his role over journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death, alluded to the ‘three methods’ officials use to unmask activists on social media last year.

In a tweet from 2017, he warned that fake names could not protect dissidents.

‘Does your nickname protect you from the #blacklist?’ Al-Qahtani wrote online.

‘No. 1. States have a way of knowing the owner of the name. 2 – IP can be identified in many technical ways. 3- The secret I’m not going to say.’

The source said his tweet is ‘considered to be an intended threat’.

A Twitter spokesperson stated that they work hard to protect their users’ voices.

‘We do not comment on individual cases for privacy and security reasons,’ they said.

‘Twitter has a well-documented, strong track record of protecting user information and data.

‘We require law enforcement to meet a high legal threshold and to undergo strict process when making information requests to Twitter.

‘As a company, we will always err on the side of protecting the voices of those who use our service.’

Al-Jasser’s alleged killing comes just one month after Washington Post journalist Khashoggi was murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.


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