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Published on April 3rd, 2013 | by The TechView Team

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Saudi Arabia to restrict Twitter access to registered users

Al Jazeera has a story from local Saudi media reports suggesting the Saudi Arabia government could require users to register personal identification documents in order to use Twitter. This would essentially put an end to the anonymity which the social network currently offers. This is part of a wider crackdown expected on Skype, Whatsapp, Viber and other social & mobile driven communication channels. The Saudi Arabian Communications and Information Technology Commission (CITC)  is exploring ways to monitor the users of these channels and may be in talks with the service providers to do so.

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The country’s concerns are based after the events of the Arab Spring uprisings in which Twitter was used by the young population to organize and spread the message of activism and  protests.

Last month, the country’s top religious cleric Grand Mufti called the users of Twitter “clowns” and the site a place for those who  “unleash unjust, incorrect and wrong tweets.”

Twitter has been extremely popular in the country with over three million Twitter users, the highest across Middle East and an annual growth rate of over 300%. In fact, Riyadh is the 10th most active country in the world by number of tweets posted. The country’s most popular Twitter user, in terms of number of followers is Dr Mohammad Al-Areefi – an islamic scholar and professor at the King Saud University. A list of the most popular users can be found on Socialbakers

What is perhaps most interesting to note is that Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is an investor in Twitter through the Kingdom Holding Company.

 

 

 

 

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