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Posted On: 25 July 2019 04:16 pm

Fake social media accounts influencing the Gulf crisis -- GCC Crisis Updates Week 112

Khadiza Begum
Khadiza Begum
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Here’s what’s happened since last week’s updates: Jordan has new envoy to Qatar, two years after it severed ties -- GCC Crisis Updates Week 111

23 July, 2019

Qatar participates in International Partners Meeting to Follow up political situation in Sudan

The State of Qatar took part in a meeting chaired by the European Union in Brussels for a broad group of international partners to follow up the political situation in Sudan, reported Qatar News Agency (QNA).

H.E. Special Envoy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Combating Terrorism and Mediation in Dispute Resolution Dr. Mutlaq bin Majid Al Qahtani headed the delegation of the State of Qatar to the meeting.

The meeting was attended by representatives of several countries friendly to Sudan as well as representatives of the key international financial institutions.

The meeting discussed the current efforts to support a peaceful resolution to Sudans current challenges. The participants affirmed their commitment to support the civilian-led transition and look forward to the swift establishment of transitional authorities with clear and transparent responsibilities as well as a genuine ability to deliver on the aspirations of the Sudanese people for peace, stability, and economic recovery.

22 July 2019

Qatari citizen released by Saudi Arabia after detention

Qatari-man

The National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) has welcomed the release of Qatari citizen Mohsen Saleh Saadoun Al Korbi, who was arbitrarily detained by the Saudi authorities since April 21, 2018, and was deprived of his most basic rights to contact his family or lawyer, reported Qatar News Agency (QNA). His family was also unable to know the place of his detention specifically, nor the charges made against him.

In a statement issued Monday, the NHRC said that it has been in constant contact with UN bodies, international organizations and the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to demand the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to determine the Qatari citizen's place and to release him. The Committee called on the Saudi authorities to compensate the Qatari citizen for the harm he suffered during his enforced disappearance.

21 June, 2019

Fake social media accounts influencing the Gulf crisis

There is considerable concern about the role that social media, such as Facebook and Twitter playing to influence the Gulf crisis. In a recent report, Al Jazeera examines how Twitter in the Middle East has changed since the Arab Spring, from the Gulf crisis to the Khashoggi affair, how bots influence online conversations.

Using a combination of data collection and language processing, Al Jazeera has analysed more than 2.3 million tweets from almost 2,400 accounts, sent between June 2017 and October 2018. The analysis found that bots - Twitter accounts that are either fully or partially automated to amplify certain messages, hashtags or opinions - play a significant role in the online conversation about the blockade.

"In the two months before the Gulf Crisis started, a network of Twitter accounts was set up specifically to have anti-Qatar messages in their bios," Marc Owen Jones, assistant professor of Middle East Studies at Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Doha and fellow of the Exeter Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, told Al Jazeera.

Based on Al Jazeera’s analysis, accounts like those of Saud al-Qahtani and Turki al-Sheikh, both advisors to the Saudi royal family, saw large numbers of retweets by identified bots, increasing the reach of their hashtags and tweets.

Al-Qahtani, one of the people allegedly involved in the Jamal Khashoggi murder, has been dubbed "lord of the flies", a reference to the nickname pro-Saudi accounts have received online.

A similar pattern of bot behaviour was found among the fake accounts retweeting people that could be designated as supporting Qatar during the blockade, with Qatar royal family member Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani and prominent Qatari businessman Adel Ali Bin Ali being retweeted by large numbers of automated accounts.

What are your thoughts on these latest developments in the ongoing GCC Crisis? Drop us a line and tell us your thoughts in the comments below, and don’t forget to like and share this article.