NYTimes report shows how Twitter, McKinsey were complicit in helping Saudi Arabia silence critics



Saudi government targeted dissidents after McKinsey report

  • The Saudi government targeted and punished several dissidents after the American consultancy firm McKinsey &Companyidentifiedtheminareportascritics,TheNewYorkTimesreported.
  • McKinseyreportedlycreatedanine-pagereportgaugingpublicresponsetoSaudiausteritymeasuresannouncedin2015,andfoundthatthreedissidentshadamajorinfluenceovernegativecoverageonTwitter.
  • Oneofthedissidentswasarrested,anotherwashackedandhadtwobrothersarrested,andathird,anonymoususer'saccountwasshutdown,TheTimesreported.

SeveraldissidentsweretargetedbytheSaudigovernmentafterareportfromtheAmericanconsultancyfirmMcKinsey&Companyidentifiedthemashavingaheavyinfluenceoversocial-mediacriticismsofSaudiausteritymeasures,accordingtoTheNewYorkTimes.

McKinseyreportedlycreatedanine-pagereportmeasuringthepublic'sresponsetoausteritymeasuresannouncedin2015,andfoundthattherewastwiceasmuchcoverageofthemeasuresonTwitterthanonothernewsplatforms,andthatthecoveragewasoverwhelminglynegative.

TheMcKinseyreport,obtainedbyTheTimes,foundthatthreepeoplewereparticularlyinfluentialonTwitter,includingKhalidal-Alkami,awriter;OmarAbdulaziz,aSaudicriticwholivesinCanada;andananonymoususeridentifiedasAhmad.

FollowingMcKinsey'sreport,Alkamiwasreportedlyarrested;twoofAbdulaziz'sbrotherswerearrested,andthegovernmenthackedAbdulaziz'sphone; and the Ahmad account was shuttered.

A McKinsey spokesman said in a statement to Business Insider that the report was not created for the Saudi government, used publicly available information, and was intended primarily for an "internal" audience.

"We were never commissioned by any authority in Saudi Arabia to prepare a report of any kind or in any form to identify critics. In our work with governments, McKinsey has not and never would engage in any work that seeks to target individuals based on their views," the spokesman said.

He continued: "We are horrified by the possibility, however remote, that it could have been misused in any way. At this point, we have seen no evidence to suggest that it was misused, but we are urgently investigating how and with whom the document was shared."

The news comes amid international uproar over the death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, whom the Saudi government acknowledged Friday was killed in a consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. Khashoggi had frequently criticized the Saudi government and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in his columns.






Video: Saudi dissident: spyware helped in Khashoggi killing

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Date: 19.12.2018, 08:08 / Views: 45142