Former Twitter employee Ahmad Abouammo has been found guilty of spying for the government of Saudi Arabia. a report of Bloomberg. The jury ruled Tuesday in a federal court in San Francisco, where Abouammo was also convicted of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, money laundering and falsification of data.
Abouammo previously worked at Twitter as a media partnership manager and helped prominent figures in the Middle East and North Africa promote their accounts. However, he took advantage of his position to access the email addresses, phone numbers and birth dates of users critical of the Saudi government. Abouammo then passed that information on to Saudi officials between November 2014 and May 2015, receiving gifts in return.
In 2019, the Justice Department accused Abouammo and another former Twitter employee, Ali Alzabarah, of spying. The agency expanded those charges later in 2020 to include a third person, Ahmed Almutairi, who reportedly coordinated the settlement. Both Almutairi and Alzabarah are still wanted by the US government. Last year, human rights activist Ali Al-Ahmed sued Twitter, claiming the platform could have done more to protect his information.
According to Bloomberg, prosecutors accused Abouammo of working with an aide to Mohammed bin Salman, who is now the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, to suppress dissidents. Abouammo reportedly claimed he was just doing his job, accusing Twitter of failing to secure users’ data.
Abouammo faces 10 to 20 years in prison if convicted. Twitter declined to comment.
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