Saudi Gazette reports that unknown persons (or at least unnamed persons) launched a Twitter attack on Saudi Arabia over the past month. In another model of incomplete reporting, the article (which originated in the Arabic daily Al-Hayat), simply says that hashtags inimical to Saudi Arabia were launched and drew in some 17,000 responses. Again, the article doesn’t say anything about the responses, whether they were positive, negative, or both.
That the issue has drawn the attention of Saudi Arabia’s Sakina anti-extremism program suggests that foreign sources were behind the attacks. The article also points out that the Sakina is not really set up to do much about the problem. There are calls to establish a new office to deal specifically with social media as a new threat for which a defense must be found.
300 hashtags targeted KSA in one month, says official
Saudi Gazette report
RIYADH – Over 300 Twitter hashtags targeting the Kingdom and its people have been registered in just one month by the Sakina program combating extremist and terrorist ideology, which is run by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, according to the program’s director.
Speaking to Al-Watan newspaper, Abdul Monem Al-Mashooh said: “The hashtags were made by unknown people who know what they are doing and are following up closely the current events in the region.” He said over 17,000 tweets reacted to these hashtags.
“This number should be taken into consideration and should not be ignored even though it increased suddenly before vanishing. Although these hashtags failed to achieve their goals, they succeeded in stirring a limited number of people, a matter which should be dealt with carefully,” he added.
He regretted the fact that several accounts on Twitter acknowledged and interacted with the hashtags without verifying their sources and real purposes.