In recent years, social media platforms have become increasingly popular, with many people using them to keep updated or to have fun. Social media could be used in a variety of ways even during elections, especially in Kuwait, which would be witnessing on June sixth, the 2023 National Assembly election. Candidates have used social media platforms to promote their programs and agendas, but it could make or break their chances of winning a seat at the Abdullah Salem parliament.
Dr. Ibrahim Al-Hadban, a political science professor at Kuwait University (KU), stated that in the past, regular media outlets such as television, radio, and newspapers were the most important avenues for candidates to convey their messages.
He went on to say that the new media, spearheaded by social media platforms, tend to reach more audiences due to the use of the internet. It costs less than opening a campaign headquarters.
Most candidates must know how to use Facebook, Twitter, and Tiktok to gain votes, argued Dr. Al-Hadban, adding that some might abuse such platforms to make shortsighted promises.
Providing his outlook, professor of media at KU Dr. Nasser Al-Mjaibil predicted that the use of direct contact with eligible voters might possibly decrease in the future. Social media could be viewed as a double-edged sword. Any word or promise by a candidate could backfire or be put under scrutiny; therefore, it should be used wisely. Fellow KU media professor Dr. Yousef Al- Daihani affirmed that candidates now must have the new media as part of their campaign to reach the most-sought seat at Abdullah Al-Salem Hall.
The official social media accounts of candidates can provide voters with a sense of their agendas and plans, but he cautions that such posts are not entirely accurate; false information could leak and damage a candidate's reputation.
Asked about the influence of social media on voters, Dr. Al-Daihani brought in an example of Twitter. Popular tweets that carry a certain political view or were heavily retweeted by followers might cause many eligible voters to remain silent on social media due to fear of being ostracized even if said tweet had some dangerous consequences once the candidate reached parliament, said the academic. He called on social media users to be responsible and critically think before liking or sharing a view on the internet.
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