'Social media networks with their billions of users have made their way to the heart of political and ideological clashes, providing a deep-reaching platform that some leaders and regimes tend to use in a rather propagandistic manner.
Mix this desire with an unlimited amount of money and you will arrive at a dangerous concoction of technology and mind control techniques that will allow you to force your ideology upon people without really lifting a finger.
This is what Saudi Arabia has done in a never-ending push to forward its ideological agenda through spreading sectarian sentiments.
Marc Owen Jones, a Research Fellow at the Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies at Exeter University, has discovered hundreds of Twitter bots that the oil-rich Riyadh regime has been using to sway people's minds about the reality of regional crises in the Middle East region.
In an article on his personal blog, Jones argues that repressive regime like Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have used social media to prevent the spread of uncensored information about themselves.
Warning of "industrial-scale propaganda" in the Persian Gulf region, the author says his investigations have revealed thousands of "fake" Twitter accounts used for the purpose of "polluting hashtags around the Persian Gulf with anti-Shia and anti-Iranian propaganda."
The accounts are all automated and "would, at certain times of the day, generate hundreds to thousands of tweets per hour, quickly flushing out legitimate tweets on various hashtags, including #Bahrain, #Yemen, #Saudi and others," writes Jones, who is also a researcher and director at Bahrain Watch NGO.
The suspicious accounts generated a whopping 10,000 tweets per day, promoting sectarian rhetoric aimed at spamming hashtags about unrest in Saudi Arabia's Shia-dominated region of Qatif, the Saudi-led war against Yemen, and Bahrain's crackdown on anti-regime protests.'
Read more: Saudi using army of online trolls to spew hatred, sectarianism against Iran
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20 February 2019
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