Weak, disturbed, sinful liars – the Saudi take on Twitter follower-buyers

By Toby Manhire In The Internaut

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A senior Saudi cleric has denounced a particular class of Twitter users: those who buy their followers.

The Saudi news site Saqb has reported that Sheikh Abdullah has condemned the “sinful” practice of purchasing followers as “a lie and a slander”, as in turn reported by al-Arabiya.

Buying followers – and thereby the perception of influence – has been under scrutiny in a number of places recently, including the US, where doubts have been raised over Mitt Romney’s Twitter followers.

In New Zealand, at least one so-called “social media guru” has faced accusations over paying for followers, while suspicious glances have been cast in the direction of a handful of other high-profile people, including – unpersuasively – John Key.

Then there was the one about the charismatic TV personality.

In the Saudi Kingdom, it is reportedly a “common practice among celebrities and religious figures”.

According to one Saudi psychologist, quoted by Saqb, it is the sign of “a weak and disturbed personality”. Such an individual “suffers from a sense of internal void, and by increasing the amount of followers, he or she satisfies such void, and draws attention to him or herself”.

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