Saudi Crown Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz is now on Twitter. The heir apparent to throne has posted a single tweet to his verified account on the social network that reads: “This is the official and only account for His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz. The Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”
هذا هو الحساب الرسمي والوحيد لصاحب السمو الملكي الأمير سلمان بن عبدالعزيز آل سعود. ولي عهد المملكة العربية السعودية.
— سلمان بن عبدالعزيز (@HRHPSalman) February 23, 2013
The new account has now more than 205,000 followers. Local news site Sabq quoted a source they described as “close to the Crown Prince” as saying the move to register an official account for Prince Salman was due to the repeated impersonation, a problem that is common on Twitter. That suggests that the Crown Prince probably won’t be actively using the account.
The social network has become a major platform for news and debate among Saudi citizens over the past two years. Several activists have been interrogated over their tweets. A man named Bader Thawab was reportedly arrested last September after posting a tweet calling for the fall of the monarchy. The government is accusing Thawab of “writing statements in social media website Twitter that incite public opinion and disturb national unity and following tempters and disobeying the ruler,” according to a leaked copy of the list of charges that was posted online.
Latest stats estimate that the number of active Saudi users on Twitter has reached 4 million posting more than 50 million tweets per month. The government said earlier this month that they monitor Twitter but Minister of Culture and Information Abdulaziz Khoja admitted that it is too difficult to censor tweets “due to the big number of users.”