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Saudi Arabia will use social media to deter criticism

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Significance

Since 2010, social media has played a major role in connecting Saudis and creating a space for debate in the absence of political participation. However, government monitoring of social media has increased, to deter criticism and prevent grassroots mobilisation. Saudis are now expected actively to support government policies. These factors have fundamentally altered social media habits.

Impacts

  • The government will continue harshly to discourage criticism on social media as the kingdom’s social and cultural fabric alters.
  • The state will use social media to promote a positive image of the country to attract tourism and investment.
  • Increased Western criticism of Saudi Arabia is producing a counter-effect and aligning the population with the state.
  • The absence of open debate on social media will inhibit the government from understanding how the population perceives its policies.

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