Local Newspaper Deletes Story About Saudi Government Plan to Link Twitter Accounts to National IDs

Saudi English-language daily Arab News published a front page story today saying the government may try to end anonymity for Twitter users in the country by limiting access to the site to people who register their national identification documents. That story was soon picked up by international news agency Reuters, but it seems that the original report in Arab News has been deleted since then.

A screenshot of Arab News front page shows the newspaper leading with the story today:

Here is a screenshot of how the story appeared on the site before it was deleted, via Google Cache:

The story was reportedly also accessible using Arab News app on Android smartphones:

It was widely reported last week that Saudi Arabia may block access to encrypted communication apps such as Skype and WhatsApp unless the government finds a way to monitor messages sent through these apps. While Twitter was not mentioned as one of the apps to be blocked, the social network has become a popular platform for Saudis to discuss news and issues in the conservative kingdom. A recent survey said 51% of internet users in Saudi Arabia are active Twitter users, putting it in first place worldwide. A senior Saudi official said last month that the government is struggling to monitor and censor the site due to the huge volume of messages posted by users inside the country.