Saudi Arabia’s rulers adapt message for social media age

By Sylvia Westall and Angus McDowall DUBAI/RIYADH (Reuters) – The participation of tens of thousands of young Saudis in a social media debate over plans to reform the kingdom's oil-reliant economy last month marked a shift in how Riyadh's conservative rulers interact with their subjects. Saudi Arabia's dynastic leaders, who rule by fiat and strictly limit public dissent, have historically courted public opinion only via informal councils with tribal, religious and business leaders or citizens seeking to petition them. "It's a new focus for the government as it reaches out to a young Saudi population that is more likely to use social media," Saudi analyst and commentator Mohammed Alyahya said.

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