The battle between Arab media and Arab governments took another twist today when Saudi Arabia announced it may put an end to anonymity on Twitter according to Al-Jazeera. It seems that Saudi Arabia, weary of the power of social media, has taken precautions to make sure that the criticism available in Tunisia will not be available in the land of the Al-Saud monarchy. As has been used against political parties in the past, the Saudi royal family will be using the Ministry of Interior and identification papers as a way of monitoring who is using the social media outlet. However, it is important to note that Twitter is not the only website impacted by the potential new legislation from Riyadh. Skype has also been mentioned as a popular site up for censorship as well.
It is clear that these measures are an attempt by Riyadh to concentrate power in the hands of the Saudi royal family and to maintain the status quo indefinitely. As we have seen in the Arab Spring, governments have acted in one of three ways; (1) react against a revolution/insurgency, (2) make accomodations within the goverrnment such as a new constitution, and (3) hold new elections and transfer power over to a new government. It is clear here that Saudi Arabia has chosen the first option. It will be interesting to see how everyday Saudis, who have come to use Twitter frequently as a forum for debate, will react to this legislation once it is in place. Only time will tell to see if Saudi Arabia will safely ride the wave known as the Arab Spring.
Article: Saudi Arabia ‘may end’ Twitter user anonymity