Sen. Chris Murphy requires probe into Saudi Arabia’s stake in Twitter

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) talking in Warsaw, Poland, on Oct. 5. Photograph: Attila Husejnow/SOPA Photographs/LightRocket by way of Getty Photographs

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Monday called for a congressional investigation into the nationwide safety implications of an organization partially owned by Saudi Arabia sustaining its stake in Twitter following Elon Musk’s $44 billion acquisition of the platform.

Why it issues: Saudi Arabia, by a holding firm partly owned by the nation’s sovereign wealth fund, maintains a significant stake within the social media platform that is recurrently used for political discourse, regardless of repeatedly repressing expressions of political dissent.

By the numbers: Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, founder and chairman of the Kingdom Holding Firm, mentioned the corporate would proceed its possession of Twitter shares valued at $1.89 billion after Musk accomplished the deal, making it Twitter’s second largest investor.

  • Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, which is chaired by crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS), owns 16.9% of the Kingdom Holding Firm.

What they’re saying: “At present I’m requesting the Committee on International Funding — which opinions acquisitions of U.S. companies by international patrons — to conduct an investigation into the nationwide safety implications of Saudi Arabia’s buy of Twitter,” Murphy mentioned on the social media platform Monday.

  • “We must be involved that the Saudis, who’ve a transparent curiosity in repressing political speech and impacting U.S. politics, are actually the second-largest proprietor of a significant social media platform,” he added.
  • “There’s a clear nationwide safety problem at stake and [the Committee on Foreign Investment] ought to do a evaluation.”
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The large image: Earlier this yr, a former Twitter worker was convicted of costs associated to spying on behalf of Saudi Arabia by acquiring info on dissidents who used the platform and sharing it with officers within the Saudi authorities.

  • The U.S. Division of State earlier this month additionally confirmed that the dominion had sentenced an American citizen, Saad Ibrahim Almadi, to 16 years in jail for posting tweets important of the Saudi authorities.
  • The nation sentenced Salma al-Shehab to 34 years in jail earlier this yr for sustaining a Twitter account and for following and retweeting dissidents and activists important of the Saudi authorities, in accordance with The Guardian.
  • The Workplace of the Director of Nationwide Intelligence final yr launched an unclassified report assessing that MBS accredited a “seize or kill” operation that resulted within the 2018 homicide of Jamal Khashoggi — a Washington Publish journalist and Saudi dissident, contained in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul — the place his physique was additionally dismembered.

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