The Saudi government has been heavily criticized for the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and some Saudi social media users have found a way to fight back: Amazon.com's boycott.
In recent days, Saudi Twitter users have used hashtags such as #BoycottAmazon and # مقاطعة_امازون_وسوق_دوت_كوم to encourage their compatriots and allies to discontinue Amazon and Souq, an online retailer purchased by Amazon last year. According to the Bloomberg News, calls for a boycott on Sunday took several hours in Saudi Arabia.
The boycott attempt appears to be related to Washington Post reporting on the killing of Khashoggi, a contributing newspaper columnist. Post owner Jeffrey P. Bezos is the founder and chief executive of Amazon.
Some of the tweets justified a boycott by saying that Saudi Arabia and its crown prince Mohammed bin Salman are under attack.
Khashoggi, once a Riyadh insider, had in recent years become a sharp critic of the crown prince's reforms, living in self-imposed exile in Virginia. He was killed on October 2, after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to receive a document he needed for his planned marriage.
The disappearance of the journalist – and the belated confession of the kingdom that he was killed at the consulate – caused a global advertising crisis for Saudi Arabia and Mohammed. Riyadh has repeatedly denied that the Crown Prince was aware of a plan to kill Khashoggi, but many observers believe this claim is unlikely.
However, many Saudis still support Mohammed: "What happened to Khashoggi is terrible and goes against Islam," a Saudi citizen in the city of Ad Dilam told the post office last week. "Our Crown Prince did not do that. We trust him and feel the changes he has made for us. "
It is unclear how much the Amazon boycott movement is popular in Saudi Arabia. The country has one of the most active Twitter user bases in the Arab world, but analysts say the use of government-owned bots is widespread and is often meant to bring certain news into trend lists.
Many of the tweets calling for a boycott of Amazon used a similar, though not identical, language, suggesting a degree of coordination. Some users also used the hashtags to criticize the call for boycott. He said it would not make any difference.
Amazon had considered Saudi Arabia as a potential growth area. The retailer began hiring new positions in Riyadh this year after Bezos met with Mohammed in Seattle in March. It also used Souq, which is widely used in Saudi Arabia to provide Amazon access.
An Amazon representative did not immediately respond to a request from The Post.
One month after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, these key questions remain unanswered
To embarrass a prince, activists want the street in front of the Saudi embassy in D.C. & # 39; Jamal Khashoggi Way & # 39; rename.
Trump and the Saudis fumble after Khashoggi's assassination