Twitter bans Saudi-linked accounts impersonating Qatari figures

Twitter bans Saudi-linked accounts impersonating Qatari figures
The social media giant said the accounts were tied to the Saudi government.
2 min read
09 October, 2020
Twitter also shut down more than 100 accounts linked to Iran [Getty]
Twitter said on Thursday it had removed 33 accounts linked to the Saudi government that impersonated key political figures from rival Qatar.

"These accounts were created to impersonate key Qatari political figures and to advance narratives about Qatari politics which are geostrategically favorable to the Saudi authorities," the micro-blogging site said in a statement.

The accounts were deleted as part of a wide-ranging campaign to tackle state-linked disinformation on Twitter.

The latest sweep also saw the removal of more than 100 accounts linked to Iran.

"We identified a network of primarily compromised accounts on Twitter operating from Iran, which artificially amplified conversations on politically sensitive topics, including Black Lives Matter (BLM), the murder of George Floyd, and other issues of racial and social justice in the United States," the social media giant said.

Last week, Twitter deleted nearly 130 accounts it said were linked to the Islamic Republic and had attempted to "disrupt the public conversation" during the US presidential debate.

In April, the micro-blogging site said it had removed more than 5,000 Saudi accounts and around 2,500 Egyptian accounts it said were involved in pushing pro-government stances and "amplifying messaging critical of Iran, Qatar and Turkey".

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain have imposed a political and economic blockade on Qatar for the past three years.

The Gulf states and their allies abruptly severed ties with Doha in June 2017, banning Qatari planes from their airspace, closing the Gulf state's only land border with Saudi Arabia, and expelling Qatari citizens.

The alliance accuses Qatar of backing Islamist extremists and Iran, allegations that Doha has strongly denied.

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