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Experts: Fake accounts distorts Kuwait’s parliamentary experience, voters’ awareness “important”

Experts: Fake accounts distorts Kuwait’s parliamentary experience, voters’ awareness “important”

Though technological development, especially the ones occurring during internet age, had boosted humanity’s capabilities for development, there remains a dark side to progress.

Kuwait, on June sixth, is scheduled to hold its 2023 National Assembly (Parliamentary) elections with many vying for a seat to become the people’s representatives.

While the process of earning the voters trust is taking place, fake accounts began to pop-up on the internet and Social Media platforms distorting the democratic process in Kuwait.

Such fake accounts made it very difficult to discern between real and false information, which might cause voters some concern.

On this matter, Undersecretary for Press, Publications, and Print at the Ministry of Information Lafi Al-Subai’e told KUNA that those behind fake accounts were individuals or groups that mean harm to Kuwait and its democratic establishments.

Such accounts aim to confuse voters and turn them against their own people, he asserted.

The fake accounts are used to affect public opinion and cause controversy via posting untrue data and information.

About 95 percent of candidates have twitter accounts that could be used to look into their programs and political thought process, indicated Al-Subai’e, affirming that the best way to deal with fake accounts was not to interact with them as well as report them to the proper authorities.

On her part, member of the teaching staff at Kuwait University (KU) and head of the Kuwait Association of Information Security (KAIS) Dr. Safa Zaman went into details on how fake accounts work.

Some fake accounts use bots to gain followers and likes, making them appear legitimate to the masses, she revealed.

“Spoofing”, on the other hand, is a fake personal account of a well-known individual or a celebrity used to scam people, said Dr. Zaman who affirmed that such accounts would sometimes steer controversy and cause trouble in real life.

On the election, she expressed disappointment that some accounts were being used by election rivals to taint the image of other candidates, warning that Social Media had been very effective in global politics, namely in the US, which caused in 2016 the rise of Donald Trump to the Presidency and his fall in 2020.

On how to handle fake accounts and prevent hacking, official at the Interior Ministry’s cybercrime department Lieut-Colonel Ammar Al-Sarraf said that there was a specialized unit dedicated to combating fraud whether in Kuwait or abroad.

He stressed the need to contact the 97283939 WhatsApp service to report cyber violations and acts of hacking to prevent the proliferation of fake accounts and the use of legitimately hacked accounts in spreading false information.

Also commenting on the issue, Shariyan Al-Shariyan — head of the Kuwait Bar Association — affirmed that it was important to counter the spread of fake accounts on all Social Media platforms.

Voters are following the road to elections via the internet and it is very important to counter any false claims and information to safeguard the integrity of elections, he indicated.

He went on to say that Kuwait is the land of freedom of speech and expression and those fake accounts were not part of the healthy political discourse, adding that such accounts focused on achieving immediate gains without really bothering about the grave consequences.

Source: Kuwait News Agency