Can The Saudis Change Twitter?

Dec 20 2011 @ 5:10pm

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Mathew Ingram has doubts as to whether Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal's $300 million investment in Twitter is going to buy insurance against a Saudi spring:

Would Twitter accede to requests from Prince Alwaleed, even if he were to make them? The company’s track record suggests this is unlikely: among other things, Twitter forced the U.S. government to admit that it was going after the personal records of several Twitter users who were affiliated with WikiLeaks, something it could easily have provided in private if it wanted to. Instead, it made the news public and did its best to resist the government’s court order. Twitter’s general counsel Alex MacGillivray has also made it clear the company sees freedom of speech — especially during events such as the Arab uprisings — as a core principle.

But the fact that some users are afraid of what a Saudi Arabian investment might mean for the company is further evidence that Twitter has entered, or is entering, a new phase of its life. Instead of being just a plaything, it has become over the past year a media entity in its own right

(Photo of Egyptian flag with Twitter bird via People's Open Graphics.)