(New York, NY) – Two former Twitter employees were charged this week for spying on behalf of Saudi Arabia. PEN America’s Summer Lopez, senior director of Free Expression Programs, issued the following statement:

“Such intrigue is no surprise from the Saudis, whose desire to silence critics beyond their borders has been made all too clear. It’s frightening to contemplate that the platforms that play host to such vast amounts of personal information and opinion can be infiltrated by governments hell-bent on outing and menacing their critics. This sobering wake-up call must prompt consideration of new ways to ensure trust and privacy in our public discourse are not corroded from within the very platforms that host it.”


PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

CONTACT: Stephen Fee, Director of Communications, sfee@pen.org, +1 202 309 8892