Thread: Revealing important information about link between the pro-MBS online disinformation network and the pro-Trump disinformation ecosystem
BACKGROUND: In May 2019, due to recent action by Twitter, a number of large Saudi disinfo accounts were removed from the platform for state-sponsored manipulation. This was a hit to MBS's disinfo efforts, and led to a Saudi state-manipulated campaign against Twitter.
The Saudi campaign included insults and harassment against Twitter MENA employees, but also importantly, calls to delete Twitter and install Parler. Some of these tweets are still online, but I don't want to link directly to them. Here's some screenshots (Arabic):
At the same time, 200,000 fresh Saudi accounts were created on Parler practically overnight. Our assessment (as well as the assessment of experts we spoke to at the time) is that the majority were disinfo accounts.…
Parler at the time was a rather small platform. When the Saudis created 200,000 new accounts in June 2019, it *more than doubled* its user base and almost crashed the site. But: this was only the visible part of Saudi interest in Parler.
THE NEWS: Today I'd like to reveal that MBS tried in June 2019 to purchase US right-wing social media platform Parler. His bid was serious enough that his consultants flew Parler founder & ex-CEO John Matze to Riyadh for negotiations.
MBS's consultants made certain requests of Matze, including ability to peer into accounts they deem "extremist", and insisted that accounts be registered by SMS + phone number, not through mobile verification.
The negotiations continued for a number of months. To his credit, John Matze was wondering whether the Saudis represented "American values" in light of the Khashoggi murder. I do not know if the deal proceeded past November 2019.
SUMMARY: MBS made a serious bid to purchase the same right-wing platform that was used as a staging ground for the Jan 6 attack on US democracy. He also wanted the platform to weaken its features to allow him to spy on its users. How far these talks went needs to be investigated.
This revelation is only part of a bigger story about the intersection between the disinfo ecosystems of Arab dictators and that of Trump. I received this information first hand. I will be limiting further comments for the time being.
KEY: I want to stress that to his credit, John Matze recognized that the Khashoggi murder meant that MBS and the Saudi regime cannot and do not align with American values. For this reason I would be surprised if anything happened after November 2019.

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