The Impact of Social Media and Digital Technology on Electoral Violence in Kenya
IDS Working Paper 493
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Electoral violence has become synonymous with Kenya’s elections. This acquired deadly proportions during the 2007 elections. However, it was also during this time that social media and digital technology were first used for political reasons including campaigning and polling.
Social media and digital technology had mixed uses where they were not only used to propagate hate speech and mobilise for violence, but also to identify and map out violence hotspots. Since then, they have increasingly become an indispensable tool in Kenya’s politics and governance, used by political leaders to spread information, campaign and mobilise. However, the widespread reach of social media has also been a major challenge to security, peace and peacebuilding since it has been used to incite hatred and violence.
This paper identifies the specific threats that social media and digital technology pose and opportunities they present for violence prevention. Ultimately, the paper seeks to present the opportunities that exist for partnerships between state and non-state actors to effectively prevent political and electoral violence.