A senior Saudi cleric has criticized as sinful the practice of “buying” followers on popular social networking site Twitter, local media reported Saturday.
Senior scholar Sheikh Abdullah told Saudi online news site Sabq that it was “a lie and slander” to pay money to companies to create Twitter followers – thought to be a common practice among celebrities and religious figures in the kingdom.
Such tactics, he reportedly said, created “ghost” Twitter users.
Al Arabiya reported earlier this month that a Saudi man bought thousands of Twitter followers to expose the practice by prominent “Tweeters” who wanted to enhance their profiles.
Abdul Rahman al-Kharashi tweeted on July 27 that he was in a “moment of serious thinking about purchasing up to 500,000 followers as some social figures do.” The number of Kharashi’s followers on Twitter since then jumped from 600 to 183,000.
Companies inside the kingdom reportedly charge between $70 and $270 for adding up to 10,000 new followers to a customer’s Twitter account.
The Saqb article went on to quote Saudi clinical psychologist Dr. Talal Thaqafi saying that “a person who pays money for the sake of increasing the number of followers has a weak and disturbed personality, and is unable to achieve that feat by any other means.”
In his diagnosis, he added that such kind of person “suffers from a sense of internal void, and by increasing the amount of followers, he or she satisfies such void, and draw attention to him or herself.”