Ahmed Al Omran, a Saudi journalist and blogger alert to the dangers of Internet-sourced reporting, tried to correct the flow of false information on Twitter. Given that there are millions of Saudi Twitter users, he noted, reports citing just 1,500 complaints about Mrs. Obama’s attire this week could hardly be used as evidence of a broad-based backlash.

A look at the new king’s popular Twitter account showed that, although he is accustomed to meeting Saudi women who cloak their hair, he is also quite used to meeting female Western officials with uncovered hair — like Anne Patterson, the United States assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.