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Saudis' Amazon Boycott Shows Signs of 'Coordination'

Similar language found among 8K tweets mentioning boycott
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 6, 2018 10:25 AM CST
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos speaks at the Economic Club of Washington's Milestone Celebration on Sept. 13, 2018.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File)

(Newser) – Amazon can expect to send fewer packages to Saudi Arabia in the wake of Jamal Khashoggi's murder. Thousands of social media users in the country are urging a boycott of Amazon.com and Dubai-based subsidiary Souq.com over coverage of the writer's killing published by the Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. On Friday, for example, the Post published an op-ed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said the "inexplicable" killing in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul was ordered by "the highest levels of the Saudi government." CNN reports the boycott was mentioned in more than 8,000 tweets Monday—it was one of the top trending hashtags in Saudi Arabia, per the Hill—though Bloomberg found several tweets "appeared to be automated or copied and pasted."

Noting the use of pro-government bots to promote certain messages, the Post likewise describes "similar if not identical language, suggesting some degree of coordination." Still, some users appeared serious, sharing images of the Amazon app deleted from smartphones, per Bloomberg. Describing an "organized media war" in which the Post "consistently publishes articles that are defaming," Saudi journalist Bandar Otyf urged his followers to "boycott Amazon to send a message to its owner so he is aware of the scale of the damage." Another user said it was unacceptable that the Post "attacks our nation and its leaders." One man found some hypocrisy in the whole idea, however. "Amazon's owner has a stake in Twitter, so if you were serious, then boycott Twitter too," he wrote, per CNN. (Saudis who assisted in an investigation into the killing allegedly hid evidence.)

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