The American Bloomberg Agency revealed, on Wednesday, that Saudi Arabia has succeeded, through the hacks that Twitter was exposed to 5 years ago, in gaining access to data that it used to harass or arrest people opposed to its government, including the Saudi activist Abdul Rahman Al-Sadhan.
In 2015, it was reported that two Saudi Twitter employees were able to penetrate more than 6,000 accounts while they were working on espionage for Riyadh.
And it adds, according to Anadolu Agency, that some of the details of the incident were revealed by the American public prosecutor who brought charges against the two men, last November, and were also revealed by lawsuits filed by people who said that their Twitter accounts were among those that had been hacked.
The American agency stated that the Saudi activist Abdul Rahman Al-Sadhan was a victim of spying by the Saudi authorities on the accounts of opponents abroad, and it quoted his sister Areej as managing an account on Twitter and Saudi security arrested him last March.
Areej pointed out that her brother was active in human rights issues and ran an account on Twitter with an anonymous identity, and she attributed the reason for his disappearance to the activities of Twitter spies.
Areej said that someone familiar with the US investigation told her that her brother’s account, which is being watched by thousands, had been hacked.
Two other Saudi opposition figures, one in Canada and the other in the United States, said in lawsuits that their Twitter accounts were among the accounts targeted by the two alleged spies inside the company, and that this endangered them or their friends in Saudi Arabia.
The agency noted that in August 2017, Saud Al-Qahtani, one of the closest advisers to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the time, issued a warning on his private account on Twitter to unknown Twitter accounts: “Does the alias protect you from the blacklist? No.”
She said Al-Qahtani made it clear at the time that governments can discover the true identities of people who use Twitter under pseudonyms.