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Twitter celebrates the best brand campaigns in MENA this year – Arab News

https://arab.news/nt7ak
DUBAI: Twitter has had an interesting year, starting with the platform banning former US President Donald Trump and ending with CEO Jack Dorsey stepping down from his role, handing over the reins to chief technology officer Parag Agrawal.
According to the company’s latest earnings call, total revenue was $1.28 billion in the third quarter of the year, up 37 percent year over year, and advertising revenue reached $1.14 billion, an increase of 41 percent year over year.
Earlier this year, a Twitter survey revealed that audiences on the platform are highly receptive to brands and that a 10 percent increase in conversation can increase brand sales revenue by up to 3 percent. Moreover, 91 percent of respondents said that they are looking for new brand launches on the platform. The data also showed that Twitter users are 35 percent more likely than non-users to be affluent consumers.
Launching a product, service, or campaign also yields impressive results for brands, with data showing that launching on Twitter leads to an average 83 percent lift in ad recall, an 18 percent lift in brand awareness and a 15 percent lift in message association.
“2021 was a year of opportunity, from reopening of borders to easing of restrictions and regulations, yet it was not without its unique challenges, including cutting through the clutter to elevate, entertain and connect,” said Carla El Maalouli, Head of Business Marketing MENA.
 “They (brands) have been busy launching award-winning, perception-shifting, innovative campaigns throughout the year, but as we reflect, the question remains, who are the brands that grabbed people’s attention this year?”
The Best Launch with Impact Campaign: @LexusKSA
For the global launch of the 2021 Lexus IS, Lexus KSA used Twitter to connect with Saudi audiences. The brand used Twitter products such as notifications, live event and trend takeover+, building anticipation for the launch of the new Lexus IS in a phased approach.
In the first phase, the brand created awareness about the launch event with instructions on how to join the event through the live stream. Viewership of the event peaked at 500,000 in the first few hours. Featuring electronic duo Dish Dash, the launch event helped Lexus KSA engage with a wider audience.
Following the event, the brand served people information about it and what they may have missed. Once the brand had created awareness, the next step was to turn it to action through website cards that guided prospective customers to the Lexus IS landing page.
The live event had more than 60,000 total live viewers, and brand awareness among engaged audiences rose by 15 percent, brand awareness via video users increased by 11 percent, and brand favorability grew by 19 percent.
The Best Connections through Space Campaign: @stc_KSA
This year, the launch of Twitter Spaces, a feature based on live audio conversations on Twitter, coincided with Ramadan, creating an opportunity for Saudi telco STC.
STC partnered with Rotana Music, introducing the second season of its show “Sawalef Ramadaniya” through Twitter Spaces. The campaign adopted a dual approach, with STC using Twitter Amplify to present different ways of accessing Rotana Music’s content and providing post-broadcast highlights to audiences.
To create excitement around the Twitter Spaces sessions, STC included a pre-roll video campaign consisting of teaser content that previewed episodes in the 24-hour run-up to showtime. The brand then used Twitter’s brand notifications feature to remind fans to tune in ahead of the broadcast, with each subscriber receiving a notification before the Space went live.
After the show had ended, STC followed up by promoting video highlights on Twitter. The campaign generated more than 78.5 million impressions and more than 8.1 million video views.
The Best Change for Good Campaign: @MastercardMEA
In June 2021, Twitter became the first social media platform to offer the language setting Arabic (Feminine), which better supports the feminine form of the Arabic language. Mastercard used this launch to tell its own inclusion story through a two-phased campaign.
In phase one Mastercard announced its pledge to support the #FeminineArabic initiative with an animated video ad. To reach the widest possible audience, the brand launched a trend takeover in the UAE, which allowed it to take the top spot on Twitter’s Explore tab for 24 hours.
In the second phase Mastercard engaged its audiences, asking them to share stories of how the women in their lives have positively influenced them. Some of the tweets generated conversation around the language itself, with users sharing their favorite Arabic words in the feminine form.
The campaign launch coincided with Mastercard’s Global Community Day to champion the narrative and saw a total of 19.8 million impressions, more than 6.7 million video views, and more than 300,000 engagements across both the UAE and KSA.
The Best Creative Canvas Campaign: @Expo2020Dubai
After a year of delay, Expo 2020 Dubai wanted to excite and engage people ahead of its official opening to give them a glimpse of what to expect on the ground.
The brand worked with Twitter’s creative technologists to create a custom emoji engine that would add a level of personalization. Whenever someone tweeted a country flag emoji alongside the official Expo hashtag (#Expo2020), they would receive a notification that included a video featuring facts about that country’s pavilion and its architecture.
The Best Conversation Starter Campaign: @GMCArabia
For the launch of the new Yukon, GMC wanted to steer the conversation towards the idea of legacy. To connect with Saudi Arabian poetry lovers on Twitter, it partnered with broadcast network Rotana launching the Legacy of Verse poetry competition via a series of video ads.
GMC then challenged Saudi audiences to pen an original poem inspired by the Yukon campaign, which called on audiences to get involved with call-to-action buttons and video ads, amplifying engagement across the platform.
The campaign drove more than 7.5 million video views and achieved more than 226,000 engagements. Moreover, the brand achieved its largest follower growth in a single month.
JERUSALEM: Palestinian journalists have raised the alarm over what they describe as unjust suppression of their content on Facebook, a claim backed by rights groups but rejected by the social media giant.
On December 4, Palestine TV correspondent Christine Rinawi posted a video on her Facebook account in which Israeli security forces were seen shooting a Palestinian on the ground, killing him. He had just carried out a knife attack on an Israeli civilian.
Shortly after she posted her video, Rinawi, who has nearly 400,000 followers, noticed it had been removed from her account.
This was not her first experience with Facebook’s enforcement, and Rinawi said her account had already been restricted after she shared footage of a November attack in Jerusalem.
In both cases, Facebook said it intervened because the posts violated the platform’s standards.
A spokesperson for Facebook’s parent company Meta said its policies “were designed to give everyone a voice while keeping them safe on our apps.”
“We apply these policies to everyone equally, regardless of who is posting.”
Allegations of pro-Israeli bias at Facebook have simmered for years and were renewed in October when Human Rights Watch, a vocal Israel critic, said the platform had “suppressed content posted by Palestinians and their supporters speaking out about human rights issues in Israel and Palestine.”
Palestinian reporters have cited multiple incidents they describe as censorship.
One popular online news outlet, Maydan Quds News, may even have to fire reporters after its main Facebook page with 1.2 million followers was deleted, a source who requested anonymity told AFP.
The Meta spokesperson told AFP it has “a dedicated team, which includes Arabic and Hebrew speakers, who are focused on keeping our community safe by making sure we’re removing harmful content.”
It also strives to address “any enforcement errors as quickly as possible so people can keep sharing what matters to them.”
In the midst of a bout of fighting in May between Israel and armed factions in the Gaza Strip — the worst in years — Facebook had acknowledged widescale deletion of Palestinian posts, ascribing it to a technical bug that it sought to fix.
According to Palestinian social media monitoring center Sada Social, 600 Palestinian accounts or pro-Palestinian Facebook posts were restricted or deleted in 2021, a record. The center helped launch a social media campaign called “Facebook Censors Jerusalem.”
Rama Youssef, a Jerusalem-based journalist who volunteered for the campaign, said Facebook hews to an Israeli point of view and has “double standards.”
The Arab Center Washington DC think-tank said the Israeli government also pushes to censor “tens of thousands of posts and accounts” that support a Palestinian point of view.
Meta did not answer AFP questions about requests from the Israeli government.
But the company denied accusations of bias, saying its community standards prohibit violence, terrorism, hate and large-scale criminal activity, as well as posts supporting those subjects.
Israeli officials have also accused various social media platforms, including Facebook, of failing to curb anti-Semitism.
In February, then-diaspora affairs minister Omer Yankelevich presented Facebook, Google, TikTok and Twitter with proposals to beef up the fight against anti-Semitism, saying it was “running rampant” online.
Media expert Iyad Al-Rifai of Sada Social said he regularly meets with Facebook representatives to ask for more transparency.
He said the site appeared to target the word “shahid,” Arabic for martyr, which Palestinians frequently use to describe people killed by Israeli forces, including those who carried out attacks.
Rifai told AFP that Facebook insisted it is bound by American standards which consider “attackers to be terrorists,” not martyrs to a political cause.
But he said censoring the term wholesale ignored the wider context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Meta did not respond to a question about its policies regarding the use of the word “shahid.”
But it said it reviews posts according to its own policies, as well as “local laws and international human rights standards.”
Rifai said he was concerned that deleting accounts might discourage Palestinians from “engaging with pivotal issues” for fear of losing “their digital history and presence.”
He said he obtained from Facebook “promises to improve the working mechanisms of the algorithms so as to differentiate between journalistic content and ordinary content,” but he feared they offered “temporary rather than radical solutions.”
DUBAI: Every year, Google releases its “Year in Search” report featuring the top searches and trends throughout the year.
2021 was the year that people looked forward to connecting with others in real life, from small events like meeting at a café to finally being able to get married in the presence of loved ones. There was a 30 percent increase for the term “search planner” in Saudi Arabia and a massive 130 percent increase for “open wedding halls” in Egypt.

Still, the popularity of virtual events that connected people in 2020 never fully went away, with a 70 percent increase globally in search phrases containing the term “games with friends” such as “online games with friends” or “virtual games with friends.”
People also wanted to go out and enjoy different experiences as evidenced by a 100 percent increase in search interest for “picnic chair” in the UAE and a 100 percent increase for “zoo tickets” globally.
As going out became more normal, people were willing to brave the crowds to be able to enjoy movies and music in person. In Saudi Arabia, search interest for “movie cinema” grew by 125 percent, and “live music near me” grew by 40 percent globally.
With stay-at-home orders becoming the norm in 2020, people started focusing on their health — beyond just fitness and diet — and these habits were continued through 2021. Global search interest for “sunscreen for face” and “best time to take vitamin” grew by 100 percent and 40 percent respectively, indicating that people were continuing to take care of themselves even as they returned to normalcy.
Many took to baking and painting as ways to occupy their time and cultivate new hobbies during the pandemic and these behaviors continued in 2021 with a 35 percent increase in search interest for “drawing lesson” in Saudi Arabia and for “education centers” in Egypt.
Working from home and hybrid work models led to many people making changes to their homes in the last two years — whether that’s moving to a new home or renovating their current one. In Egypt, for example, there was a 40 percent increase in search interest for “furniture moving companies” and a whopping 400 percent increase globally for “budget small bathroom ideas.” In fact, between August and October, search interest for “home loan calculator” grew by 200 percent globally.
The pandemic brought to light that consumers favor brands that stand for something. A global study by US-based communications Zeno Group found that consumers are four to six times more likely to buy from, trust, champion and defend companies with a strong “purpose.” In the UAE, too, shoppers started veering toward sustainability with search interest for “cruelty free” jumping up by 40 percent.
While consumers were favorable toward brands that cared, they were also interested in caring for community members themselves with global search interest for terms that contained the words “volunteer opportunities” and “donation centers near me” soaring by 100 percent.
The biggest restriction during the pandemic was travel and as restrictions eased in 2021, search interest in the UAE for “can I travel” increased by 100 percent and search entries containing the words “for international travel” grew by a massive 300 percent.
However, some habits that became conveniences during the pandemic stuck, with search interest in “staycation deals” in the UAE increasing by 170 percent and “food delivery” growing by 70 percent globally.
JERUSALEM: Palestinian journalists have raised the alarm over what they describe as unjust suppression of their content on Facebook, a claim backed by rights groups but rejected by the social media giant.
On Dec. 4, Palestine TV correspondent Christine Rinawi posted a video on her Facebook account in which Israeli security forces were seen shooting a Palestinian on the ground, killing him. He had just carried out a knife attack on an Israeli civilian.
Shortly after she posted her video, Rinawi, who has nearly 400,000 followers, noticed it had been removed from her account. This was not her first experience with Facebook’s enforcement, and Rinawi said her account had already been restricted after she shared footage of a November attack in Jerusalem.
In both cases, Facebook said it intervened because the posts violated the platform’s standards.
A spokesperson for Facebook’s parent company Meta said its policies “were designed to give everyone a voice while keeping them safe on our apps.”
They added: “We apply these policies to everyone equally, regardless of who is posting.”
Allegations of pro-Israeli bias at Facebook have simmered for years and were renewed in October when Human Rights Watch, a vocal Israel critic, said the platform had “suppressed content posted by Palestinians and their supporters speaking out about human rights issues in Israel and Palestine.”
Palestinian reporters have cited multiple incidents they describe as censorship.
One popular online news outlet, Maydan Quds News, may even have to fire reporters after its main Facebook page with 1.2 million followers was deleted, a source who requested anonymity said.
The Meta spokesperson said it has “a dedicated team, which includes Arabic and Hebrew speakers, who are focused on keeping our community safe by making sure we’re removing harmful content.”
It also strives to address “any enforcement errors as quickly as possible so people can keep sharing what matters to them.”
In the midst of a bout of fighting in May between Israel and armed factions in the Gaza Strip — the worst in years — Facebook had acknowledged widescale deletion of Palestinian posts, ascribing it to a technical bug that it sought to fix.
According to Palestinian social media monitoring center Sada Social, a record 600 Palestinian accounts or pro-Palestinian Facebook posts were restricted or deleted in 2021. The center helped launch a social media campaign called “Facebook Censors Jerusalem.”
Rama Youssef, a Jerusalem-based journalist who volunteered for the campaign, said Facebook hews to an Israeli point of view and has “double standards.”
The Arab Center Washington, D.C. think-tank said the Israeli government also pushes to censor “tens of thousands of posts and accounts” that support a Palestinian point of view.
Meta did not answer AFP questions about requests from the Israeli government.
But the company denied accusations of bias, saying its community standards prohibit violence, terrorism, hate and large-scale criminal activity, as well as posts supporting those subjects.
Israeli officials have also accused various social media platforms, including Facebook, of failing to curb anti-Semitism.
In February, then-diaspora affairs minister, Omer Yankelevich,  presented Facebook, Google, TikTok and Twitter with proposals to beef up the fight against anti-Semitism, saying it was “running rampant” online.
Media expert Iyad Al-Rifai of Sada Social said he regularly meets with Facebook representatives to ask for more transparency. He said the site appeared to target the word “shahid,” Arabic for martyr, which Palestinians frequently use to describe people killed by Israeli forces, including those who carried out attacks.
Rifai said that Facebook insisted it is bound by American standards, which consider “attackers to be terrorists,” not martyrs to a political cause. But, he said censoring the term wholesale ignored the wider context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Meta did not respond to a question about its policies regarding the use of the word “shahid.” But it said it reviews posts according to its own policies, as well as “local laws and international human rights standards.”
Rifai said he was concerned that deleting accounts might discourage Palestinians from “engaging with pivotal issues” for fear of losing “their digital history and presence.”
He said he obtained from Facebook “promises to improve the working mechanisms of the algorithms so as to differentiate between journalistic content and ordinary content,” but he feared they offered “temporary rather than radical solutions.”
DUBAI: Amazon’s virtual assistant told a 10-year-old girl to touch a live plug with a penny when the little girl asked Alexa for a challenge.
The “penny challenge,” as it’s known on the internet, went viral last year. Several media outlets and officials have issued warnings about the dangers of the challenge.
The incident was reported by the girl’s mother Kristin Livdahl on Twitter.
 
OMFG My 10 year old just asked Alexa on our Echo for a challenge and this is what she said. pic.twitter.com/HgGgrLbdS8
 
An article on a third-party website, Our Community Now, warns parents against the challenge. The headline reads: “Watch Out, Parents—the Viral ‘Outlet Challenge’ Has Kids Doing the Unthinkable!”
Alexa, however, took only an excerpt from the article: “The challenge is simple: plug in a phone charger about halfway into a wall outlet, then touch a penny to the exposed prongs.”
In the article, the next sentence reads: “The resulting sparks are supposed to be cool enough to win you instant internet fame. (Obviously, do NOT attempt this!)”
Some users pointed out that the reason Alexa picked the suggestion is due to its viral nature, which is the problem with the internet today. But, as one user said, “Why then in the love of all that is holy would an organization that should know better like @amazon sell a product that randomly selects content from the mess of the internet to use in conversation with any random person at any level of critical thinking ability?”
 
Why then in the love of all that is holy would an organization that should know better like @amazon sell a product that randomly selects content from the mess of the internet to use in conversation with any random person at any level of critical thinking ability?
 
The tweet has sparked outrage on the Internet with users chiming in with their experiences. Amazon’s generic reply to Livdahl’s tweet has further upset many users. The response reads: “Hi there. We’re sorry to hear this! Please reach out to us directly via the following link so that we can look into this further with you. We hope this helps.”
“As soon as we became aware of this error, we took swift action to fix it,” Amazon said in a statement to the BBC. “Customer trust is at the centre of everything we do and Alexa is designed to provide accurate, relevant, and helpful information to customers.”
CAIRO: World renowned Egyptian pop star Amr Diab has been caught in the midst of online fury after audiences accused him of enabling ‘sexual harassment of women’ in his new advertisement with car manufacturer Citroen.
Social media users expressed that the advert promoted “sexism, sexual harassment, violence and objectification of women” after it was aired.
This is a really creepy ad from Citroën. I have many questions for Amr Diab https://t.co/VyMseYTV9g
Terrible. Citroen Egypt runs creepy ad starring pop star Amr Diab. @Citroen global marketing must have been sleeping at the wheel. #wtf pic.twitter.com/e5U9zD8JBr
In the commercial for the French car company, Citroen, the pop star is seen tapping his vehicle’s screen to take a photo of a woman crossing the street in order to showcase an advanced feature in the car.
 

The new option allowed Diab to snap the picture and send it to his mobile phone. 
Harassing women the Amr Diab way https://t.co/e2foEtUqxV
The rest of the scenes in the commercial show Diab taking the woman out on dates. 
The ad, which was launched last month, has allegedly been removed from YouTube, and reports suggest that neither Diab could be reached to comment on the situation.
Citroen’s Egypt office issued a statement apologizing for the ad, saying that the company “deeply regrets and understands the negative interpretation.” 
The car manufacturing company also withdrew the commercial from all channels.

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