Ex-Twitter Employee Convicted of Feeding Users’ Confidential Info to Saudi Arabia

According to a press release issued by the Department of Justice, Ahmad Abouammo, a former Twitter employee, was found guilty of acting as a foreign agent on Wednesday. A jury in San Francisco, Calif. returned the guilty verdict on counts of conspiracy, wire fraud, international money laundering, and falsification of records in a federal investigation after a two week trial before Judge Edward M. Chen, the release said.

Abouammo reportedly worked in Seattle at Twitter as a Media Partnerships Manager for the Middle East/North Africa region. The press release explained that the jury was shown evidence that Abouammo took bribes in exchange for accessing and conveying the private information of Twitter users to officials of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the Saudi Royal family.

In October 2018, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) interviewed Abouammo about his involvement in providing information to the KSA. During the interview, he lied and provided the investigators with a falsified invoice for a payment he received from a foreign official, the press release said.

He was arrested 13 months later and in July 2020, a federal grand jury returned a superseding indictment charging him with acting as an illegal agent of a foreign government. After trial, the jury acquitted Abouammo of five of the counts of wire fraud and honest services fraud, but returned a guilty verdict on all the remaining counts.

Abouammo faces decades in prison and up to a $250,000 fine per guilty count. A sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled.

Notably, Abouammo has also been named as a defendant in a civil suit brought by an activist against Twitter over its handling of the conduct alleged here. Plaintiff Ali Al-Ahmed argued that his Twitter account was hacked, which led to Saudi Arabia targeting him and those around him. The court granted dismissal of most claims in the suit on Communications Decency Act Section 230 grounds, which Al-Ahmed has now appealed.