Podcast on sectarianism and growing up in #Bahrain with @ProjectSEPAD

I am excited to post a podcast conducted by Dr. Simon Mabon at Lancaster University. The podcast is part of Projeact SEPAD, or the Sectarianism, Proxies and De-sectarianisation initiative, a Carnegie Corporation-funded project at @RichardsonInst based at Lancaster University. In it I tlak about growing up in Bahrain, and how it influenced my academic perspective … Continue reading Podcast on sectarianism and growing up in #Bahrain with @ProjectSEPAD

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The Gulf Information War| Propaganda, Fake News, and Fake Trends: The Weaponization of Twitter Bots in the Gulf Crisis

I am pleased to announce that I have published a new article in the International Journal of Communication. It's open access and you can find it here. It is part of a special issue called The Gulf Information War and the Role of Media and Communication Technologies, edited by the great Banu Akdenizli and Ilhem … Continue reading The Gulf Information War| Propaganda, Fake News, and Fake Trends: The Weaponization of Twitter Bots in the Gulf Crisis

Twitter accounts hijacked to tweet anti-Qatar propaganda and challenge French Embassy’s demands to issue Raif Badawi an amnesty

In the spirit of trying be more regular with this blog (Think of it as a high fibre writing diet), I am writing another post in my traditional style; burying the lede and ending lots of sentences with prepositions such as 'as'. My last post featured an interesting story about how verified Twitter accounts were … Continue reading Twitter accounts hijacked to tweet anti-Qatar propaganda and challenge French Embassy’s demands to issue Raif Badawi an amnesty

Was the person behind the Twitter account of dead American meteorologist a living Saudi prince?

Yesterday I wrote how pro-regime Saudi entities were using hijacked verified Twitter accounts. Today Twitter removed the verification of two of those accounts. One of them, belonging to the late meteorologist David Schwartz, is still verified. This is perhaps the most interesting. The fact is that David passed away two years ago. The New York … Continue reading Was the person behind the Twitter account of dead American meteorologist a living Saudi prince?

Someone in Saudi has taken over the verified Twitter account of a dead American meteorologist – and there’s more…

The hacked accounts of verified users on Twitter are likely being bought and sold to unknown Saudi entities and Twitter appear to be doing little about it. This post details a number of examples of this problem, putting it in the wider context of the problematic Gulf Twittersphere.  **Update: Since I wrote this blog and it … Continue reading Someone in Saudi has taken over the verified Twitter account of a dead American meteorologist – and there’s more…

Here’s how Saudi silences those who discuss the Khashoggi affair online

The murder of Khashoggi is likely to have a further chilling effect on already fearful critics of the Saudi regime. It has also exposed the extent of the online disinformation operation working to silence critics of the Kingdom and Mohammed bin Salman.  Offline, moderate critics of the regime like Khashoggi now being targeted for assassination. … Continue reading Here’s how Saudi silences those who discuss the Khashoggi affair online

In Graphs: How pro-Saudi Twitter Bots Boost Donald Trump’s Ego (and his retweet count)

We know Donald Trump likes to tweet. Given his waning popularity, he probably needs those social media dopamine hits more than most of us. However, while Donald Trump’s actual popularity among living humans remains the stuff of intrigue, especially with accusations of various forms of electoral manipulation by Cambridge Analytica, the Russians, and bots, his … Continue reading In Graphs: How pro-Saudi Twitter Bots Boost Donald Trump’s Ego (and his retweet count)