A Saudi Prince’s Attempt To Silence Critics On Twitter

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    Bradley Hope and Justin Scheck write via Wired: In 2014, Mohammed bin Salman’s uncle, King Abdullah, was nearing death. Mohammed’s father, Crown Prince Salman, was set to inherit the throne upon Abdullah’s death. For more than 60 years, the Saudi crown had been passed from one son of the kingdom’s founder to the next, the heir being determined by a combination of seniority and consensus of the surviving brothers. Mohammed’s father, Crown Prince Salman, was set to inherit the throne upon Abdullah’s death. But anonymous Twitter users were spreading claims that Salman had dementia, and that presented a problem for Mohammed: If the rumors became accepted as fact by Saudis and foreigners, Salman’s brothers might feel pressure to elevate one of his rivals, cutting the Salman clan off from its claim to the throne and dashing Mohammed’s hopes of one day inheriting the crown. So Mohammed, according to legal filings from the Department of Justice, determined to secure his father’s fate and his own popularity among the Saudi youth, had Bader al-Asaker, the head of the prince’s private foundation, begin a years-long effort to unmask his family’s critics on Twitter. A court case is still underway, but the indictment claims the endeavor began with a conventional strategy: bribery. (Prosecutors filed revised charging documents this summer, dismissing an earlier indictment in a procedural move and replacing it with updated charges.) Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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