Twitter suspends thousands of Emirati accounts for anti-Qatar, Yemen trolling

Twitter suspends thousands of Emirati accounts for anti-Qatar, Yemen trolling
The accounts, managed by a private firm that operates in the UAE and Egypt has been spreading state propaganda that violates Twitter's terms.
2 min read
20 September, 2019
Twitter went on a purge removing spam accounts [Getty]
Twitter has suspended thousands of UAE-linked Twitter spam accounts, which had been using fake names to promote state propaganda.

The micro-blogging website said a total of 4,258 UAE-based accounts tweeting mostly against Qatar and Yemen had been banned.

"We suspended a separate group of 4,258 accounts operating uniquely from the UAE, mainly directed at Qatar and Yemen," Twitter said in a statement.

"These accounts were often employing false personae and tweeting about regional issues, such as the Yemeni Civil War and the Houthi Movement."

Twitter added that the accounts were managed by a private company operating in the UAE and Egypt – two countries known for their crackdowns on state freedoms.

"We also found evidence that these accounts were created and managed by DotDev, a private technology company operating in the UAE and Egypt," Twitter said.

"We have permanently suspended DotDev, and all accounts associated with them, from our service."

Six Twitter accounts that have been linked to the Saudi regime were also suspended, including the account of Saudi torture mastermind and former royal court adviser Saud al-Qahtani.

Dubbed Saudi Arabia's Steve Bannon, he was responsible for finding Riyadh’s "online enemies" and coming up with a list of potential targets for Saudi intelligence.

Twitter said his account has been permanently suspended for manipulating the platform for his agenda.

"Separately, we have also permanently suspended the Twitter account of Saud al-Qahtani for violations of our platform manipulation policies. This account is not included in the archives disclosed today," Twitter said.

The suspensions was a part of a global crackdown against fake propaganda accounts, in which more than 10,000 accounts were suspended.

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