Saudi influencer arrested by Qassim police for faking blackmail incident
A social media influencer who claimed that he had been blackmailed by a follower in exchange for money was arrested in Saudi Arabia’s Qassim province last week.
The influencer, whose name was not revealed, claimed that the blackmailer had a recorded clip of him in private stating sensitive issues and threatened to publish the clip to Twitter if he was not paid SR 500,000 ($133,000).
However, after questioning from the police, the influencer admitted that the incident was fabricated to promote his account.
Waleed bin Nayyef, a lawyer, told Arab News that the accused was transferred to the Public Prosecution branch in Qassim for spreading false news with the aim of provoking controversy.
“All celebrity followers should know that not everything that appears on social media is real. Rather, it may be a crime punishable by law, so all followers must be careful of what some celebrities publish, as well as beware of making the same mistakes” he said.
Salman Al-Ahmed, a social worker, explained how these incidents set dangerous precedents for younger influencers keen on going viral.
“Behaving this way will only encourage younger influencers to lie their way to fame too. The effect on people will be negative and society will suffer long-term damage,” Al-Ahmed said.
The influencer in question is currently awaiting trial in Saudi Arabia, where the law bans media outlets from reporting on the defendant’s name until after the case has been closed.