The use of social media platforms has been very prevalent in recent years with most people using such tools to keep updated or just pure fun of it. 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. Some candidates have been using social media platforms to promote their programs and agenda; however, it could make or break the hopefuls’ chance of earning a seat at the Abdullah Salem parliamentary hall.
In this regard, political science professor at Kuwait University (KU) Dr. Ibrahim Al-Hadban said that in the past regular media such as television, radio, and newspapers were the most important outlets that candidates could use to relay 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 and it costs less than opening a campaign headquarters.
Knowing how to use Facebook, Twitter, and Tiktok has become necessary to most candidates, argued Dr. Al-Hadban, adding that some might abuse such platforms to promote shortsighted promises for the sake of gaining votes. 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 doubleedged 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.
Voters could browse the official social media accounts of the candidate and get an initial idea of their agenda and plans, he indicated, warning at the same time, that social media posts were not entirely based on facts; false information could leak and ruin the image of any given candidate. 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. (By Abdullah Al-Masri KUNA)
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