The New York Times reports that Saudi Arabia “groomed a Saudi employee at Twitter” to help spy on certain user accounts, presumably including that of Jamal Khashoggi.
Many Saudis had hoped that Twitter would democratize discourse by giving everyday citizens a voice, but Saudi Arabia has instead become an illustration of how authoritarian governments can manipulate social media to silence or drown out critical voices while spreading their own version of reality.
Once Arab Spring happened back in 2010-2011, I think that was the moment that governments—authoritarian and otherwise—realized the power of social media as a force for the public. And of course some governments don’t like that.
Check It Out: Saudi Arabia Had a Mole Inside Twitter