Conflict & Justice

Saudi Prince invests $300 million in Twitter


A shop in Tahrir Square is spray painted with the word Twitter after the government shut off internet access on February 4, 2011 in Cairo, Egypt. Twitter said in December that '#Egypt' was the top hashtag used around the world in 2011.


Peter Macdiarmid

Saudi Arabia's Prince Walid bin Talal has announced that he will invest $300 million in Twitter, adding to his portfolio of big-name American companies that includes Citigroup, General Motors and Apple.

In a statement, the executive director of the Kingdom Holding Company said that the decision to invest in Twitter was made because the social media site has the potential to permanently change the media world.

“We believe that social media will fundamentally change the media industry landscape in the coming years. Twitter will capture and monetize this positive trend,” Ahmed Reda Halawani said, according to the New York Times.

Twitter has developed a very high profile across the Arab world, playing an integral role in the numerous uprisings that have swept the region. Both Twitter and Facebook helped protesters organize in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Bahrain and now Syria.

The social media sites have also played a part in smaller demonstrations in Saudi Arabia, including a campaign to force the Kingdom to allow women to drive and a protest movement calling for democracy, which quickly fizzled under threats from Saudi authorities. In order to quell the unrest, Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz announced a series of economic measures that amounted to handing out cash to the public.