[Thread] 1/ Three days ago Said Al Jabri, a former Saudi politician now living in exile in Canada, gave an interview to @60Minutes where he reiterated that the Saudi state had attempted to assassinate him while in Canada. Soon after, the 'interview with Said Al Jabri trended'
2/ I will highlight some interesting characteristics about the network. Broadly speaking, there are two large communities. On the left, those critical of Saudi Crown Prince MBS, and those on the right, those supportive of him. As you can see, not a great deal of between
3/ group communication (polarisation). There are also areas of artificial amplification impacting the pro MBS community. In this case, fake RT communities boosting tweets of support for MBS. You can see the close up of these communities below. Some are more obvious than others.
4/ This network, represents around 100 sockpuppet accounts boosting the tweet on the right praising MBS.
5/ This one is a little more of a spam network, still amplifying the hashtag. The account - @jimotheus1 (aka Reem ) sells retweet services. Most of the sockpuppets boosting her appear to have been accounts with Western names - e.g. milena_ibelice or bbsouthwick
6/ This sockpuppet network is a little more embedded in the main conversation, but is still retweeting a tweet critical of Said Al Jabri. It contains likely a few dozen accounts.
7/ I'd estimate about two hundred sock puppets attempting to dilute criticism of MBS. This does not include accounts which are likely paid trolls.

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More from @marcowenjones

12 Oct
1/ Thread. Kind of curious to see this piece about Saudi Al Qahtani edging back to power in the Guardian. There's been a sense his return to the front has been imminent for a while, but I'm not convinced social media activity is an indicator of his return theguardian.com/world/2021/oct…
2/ If you look at the Arabic hashtag of Saud al Qahtani you will see it peaked in December 2019 and May 2021. It also maintains a general level of activity between those spikes in interest, indicating there is a general bubbling of praise about him. I certainly see it a lot Image
3/ Recently on 9th October monther72, a prolific Saudi political influencer, tweeted his name. As usual it got a lot of traction. What's interesting is that if you analysis all the tweets with the hashtag of Sultan al Qahtani (from day 1), monther72 is the account that ImageImage
Read 5 tweets
6 Oct
[Thread] 1/ There is currently a #disinformation campaign attacking the human rights organization @ALQST_ORG - most accusing it of 'attacking' Saudi and being a Muslim Brotherhood entity.The campaign would suggest it was state-backed, and involves dozens of fake accounts. Read on
2/ ALQST is a human rights org focused on Saudi. Some will remember that Alaa Al Siddiq was a member. Sadly Alaa died in a car crash recently in the UK. The context of the attack is ALQST discussing HR in Saudi and sharing a panel and with Amnesty International at #HRC48
3/ Curious about this network, approximately 50 Twitter accounts, almost all featuring profile pictures of attractive young women, are spreading a collection of tweets and infographics condemning ALQST. I collected some of them below to give you an idea. #disinformation >
Read 12 tweets
22 Aug
Thread 1/ Before #Qatar's borders with Saudi were finalised in 1999 (and to a lesser extent 1965), discussions of its borders with Saudi were a sticking point. This map from 1935 shows a number of suggested boundaries proposed by British Minister in Jeddah Sir Andrew Ryan ...
2/ In 1937 another similar map was proposed. The final dotted red line offer made by Ryan in this map would have given Qatar a border with Abu Dhabi, which would have had an interesting effect on regional geopolitics. Many of the roughly drawn maps would have reduced the
3/ size of Saudi Arabia as it is today. The negotiation of borders became less of an issue (according to Zahlan) until the 1960s, when a unpublished agreement took place in 1965. However this lacked clarity, and led to the deaths of two people at the Qatar/Saudi border in 1992
Read 5 tweets
13 Aug
🧵1/ This thread is about a trend advocating for preventing Omar al-Bashir, wanted for crimes against humanity, from being sent to the ICC. It's a fantastic example of how artificially amplified and manipulated trends pretend to be grassroots sentiment #Disinformation #Sudan
2/ firstly, this shouldn't be taken lightly. The warrants against al-Bashir include the worst charges, from extermination, torture, and intentional targeting of civilians. Up to 500,000 are thought to have been killed as a result of the Darfur genocide (although figures vary).
3/ The trend translates as 'Surrending al-Bashir is an insult to Sudan'. It started trending on the evening of the 11th August. Then, @sabqorg an Arabic newspaper, ran a story about the trend saying it reflected 'popular (Gulf) outrage' about al-Bashir's plight #disinformation
Read 16 tweets
11 Aug
🧵1/ Good morning! I gathered more data over night on the hashtag 'Qatar Revolts', which is exaggerating the scale of protests in Qatar. Approx 1040 of 10500 accounts in the sample are probably fake. There is also at least one other hacked verified account #disinformation
2/ The network graph shows a fairly independent community in the top right quadrant. If you zoom in you'll see a lot of the accounts boosting the hashtag are retweets of the account @JesseCsincsak .... #cybersecurity #disinformation
3/ Now at first glance @JesseCsincsak is a company called JCK - even the name seems to kind of match the handle. Clever. But that's a ruse, the account actually promotes almalka_store. The account is hacked, and belongs to Jesse Csinscak a pro snowboarder &ABC Bachorlette winner!
Read 8 tweets
10 Aug
[Thread] 1/ Here is another #manipulation thread (I'll try make it shorter, but it's got some juicy nuggets). This is an analysis of the hashtag "Qatar Revolts". We've seen such hashtags on Lebanon, Iraq, Tunisia etc. It's a common hashtag during *widespread* demonstrations.
2/ For context again There were/are some protests in Qatar, mostly by some members of the Al Marra tribe who have been excluded from the upcoming Shura Elections. For more background on statelessness in Qatar, see this AI report for example: refworld.org/docid/483e27ab…
3/ As this graph shows, the two circled communities are worth further examination. Both represent accounts being retweeted heavily by accounts using an identical application (in this case, Twitter Web App). Who are they retweeting? See next > #disinformation #Qatar
Read 11 tweets

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