Qatar praises Twitter crackdown on pro-Saudi spam bots
Qatar has welcomed a Twitter drive to remove "millions" of automated spam bots which were being used to attack the country amid a Saudi-led dispute.
"Qatar recognizes that many of Twitter's efforts (to remove the more than 8-10 million fake accounts a week) have helped remove some of the weaponized propaganda and hate speech spread against our nation during the current blockade," Qatar's government communications office said in a statement on Wednesday.
Online attacks against the small Gulf state have surged since former GCC allies Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE - along with Egypt - launched a surprise blockade on Qatar in June 2017, accusing Doha of moving closer to Iran and supporting extremist groups in the region.
Doha denies the charges, and has said the Saudi-led blockade was aimed at making Qatar a vassal state.
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Spam bots went into overdrive last month as Saudi Arabia faced international backlash over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Twitter was spammed with pro-Riyadh messages attempting to cast doubt the kingdom was involved in Khashoggi's murder.
The pro-Saudi bots discovered by NBC used the hashtag #We_all_trust_Mohammad_Bin_Salman according to the broadcaster.
They also suggested that there was a campaign from outside Saudi Arabia against the kingdom and crown prince.