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Social media is important to first-time voters in this year’s elections

Social media is important to first-time voters in this year’s elections

“What we’re seeing is that social media plays a more prominent role in this year’s elections, and I think it will be even more important for the 2026 elections,” says Björn Apelgren, director of public education at the Internet Foundation who has followed the evolution since the 2014 election.

Before the fall elections, young people who can vote for the first time will get the majority of their political information from social media, according to a new report from the Internet Foundation.

One of the Swedish social media profiles producing content before the elections is the influencer Margaux Dietz. Among other things, she interviewed all the party leaders of the so-called “Provisional Party”.

Dietz previously received attention because she became friends with several party leaders, including Democratic Party leader Ebba Bush, with whom she was in private contact.

– I am doing temporary party work because many young people are taking their information from social media, especially first and second time voters. My followers know I’m not a journalist but I do it in a way that’s easy to understand, says Margot Dietz.

An investigation by the Internet Foundation gives her the right. Four out of ten first-time voters reported receiving political information on social media on a daily basis. Older voters still mainly use traditional media.

low confidence

This could mean that those who use social media get a different picture of how the political landscape is shaped, compared to those who primarily use traditional media, says Apelgren.

Although social media is an especially important channel for first-time voters, their trust lies in the political information that comes from there and is much higher in traditional media. This is despite the fact that much of what they encounter on social media is shared articles from traditional media.

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It has a lot to do with the way we view social media and how it is discussed in the public debate. Social media isn’t always taken lightly, says Apelgren.

Trying to influence others

First-time voters are also more active in discussions on social media. They try to influence others politically and often share political content. But as social media becomes an increasingly central platform for politicians to reach those who will vote for the first time, a number of challenges emerge as well, according to Bjorn Apelgren.

For the sender, it is difficult to find the right group of voters and to be able to adapt their information to that channel. For those who receive political information, it is of a source-critical nature – is this political information reliable?