Two former Twitter employees have been accused of spying on user accounts on behalf of the Saudi government, according to The Washington Post.
The Ministry of Justice today announced the charge after one of the former employees was allegedly arrested. That suspect, Ahmad Abouammo, was accused of spying on three Twitter accounts for the government, according to Post.
Another former employee was accused of accessing data on more than 6,000 Twitter accounts, including one associated with a confidant of murdered journalist and critic of the Saudi government, Jamal Khashoggi. A third man, who said prosecutors acted as an intermediary between the employees and the Saudi government, was also charged. Those two suspects are still free.
According to the Post, prosecutors attached the three men to a charity managed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has been bound by US officials to the murder of Khashoggi and has worked to undermine dissidents in the country. Allegedly, the prosecutors discovered that the former employees had sought information about prominent government critics.
The charges portray a major breach of Silicon Valley security. In a statement, a Twitter spokesperson said the company "limits access to sensitive account information to a limited group of trained and screened employees."
"We understand the incredible risks that many are facing who use Twitter to share their perspectives with the world and keep those in power," the spokesperson said. “We have tools to protect their privacy and their ability to do their essential work. We are committed to protecting those who use our service to advocate for equality, individual freedoms, and human rights. "