Social Media

Why is a Saudi Arabian Prince Investing in Twitter?

Conservative Daily News is reporting that a Saudi Arabian prince announced investing in Twitter through his company today:

On Monday Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, along with his company Kingdom Holding Co., announced a $300 million dollar investment into microblogging website Twitter. This comes after months of negotiations and is meant to give the company a boost as they attempt to garner more advertising. At this time it is not clear how much of Twitter the Prince will control.

In September CEO Dick Costolo said the investments would allow the company to control its own destiny and avoid, at this time, having to take to company public.

Is there an ulterior motive for this investment? If the Saudi Arabian prince owns part of Twitter, could he use his influence to shut it down in his country should the Arab Spring threaten the autocratic rule of the Saudis? This is pure mexspeculation at this point, of course.

I am not among those hopeful liberal morons who think all despotic governments will fall before the powerful might of Twitter.  However, it is clear from Iran’s shutting down Facebook and tampering with Twitter during an attempted insurrection, China’s clamping down on all social media, including blogging, and other examples, that these resources help resistance to despotic rule organize themselves.