Clubhouse: The Next Hot-Button Issue in Kuwait?
Al-Qabas, Kuwait, March 27
The latest trend in the world of social media is called Clubhouse: a mobile app that facilitates audio-only discussion rooms. In Kuwait, the popularity of this app has skyrocketed over the past few weeks, with notable politicians, celebrities and influencers launching discussions on the app while the public listens and engages. However, with the rapid spread of that app, voices have started calling to block Clubhouse in Kuwait for its potential harm to society, security and education. Some countries have already blocked the platform, including China, Jordan and the Sultanate of Oman. Allow me to weigh in on this debate for a short while. At the outset, let us all agree that everything in our world has both advantages and disadvantages. For example, a car or an airplane can both be means of transportation, but may also be killing tools if and when they are misused. Indeed, most things in life are potential double-edged swords. The idea isn’t to ban them, but rather to regulate them. The idea that every new technology that emerges must be blocked or banned to protect our youth is absurd. What about our freedoms? What about our ability to keep up with new developments in our world? Our younger generation must be exposed to all means of expression, both good and bad. Control over who uses the app and how much must be done on the individual, not national, level. Once the government makes a decision instead of the people, personal freedom is encroached. Furthermore, I think that the fascination with Clubhouse will gradually disappear. Unlike other apps that allow users to comment and share at whatever time he or she chooses, Clubhouse only allows users to engage with content when live conversations take place. Therefore, it is a true waste of time — and most Kuwaitis are likely to continue using traditional social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram instead. – Bassam Al-Asousi (translated by Asaf Zilberfarb)