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DUBAI: Just over three-quarters of adults in the US believe Facebook is making American society worse, according to a new poll by CNN.
A total of 76 percent responded to a survey to say they felt the social network was harming society, with 11 percent saying it had a positive impact, and 13 percent claiming it made it neither better nor worse.
These results come just after Facebook’s recent rebrand as Meta, and with its public image tarnished in recent months, a fact that was amplified after ex-employee and whistleblower Frances Haugen spoke out against the company.
Even among regular Facebook users, 70 percent said that the platform is harming, rather than helping, US society.
When questioned about who or what is at fault for its negative impacts, nearly half (45 percent) said it is the way Facebook is run, while 55 percent said it is the way Facebook is used by a segment of people.
Among those who use Facebook at least several times a month, 54 percent said that the platform has suggested posts to them that they found objectionable, with that number rising to 65 percent for those under the age of 35.
Nearly half (49 percent) of Americans said they knew someone they think was persuaded to believe in a conspiracy theory because of content on the platform. Among Americans under the age of 35, that number was 61 percent compared with 35 percent of those aged 65 or older.
Haugen’s testimony to the US Senate has accelerated questions over government intervention and regulation of big tech companies. With regards to Facebook, 53 percent said the federal government should increase its regulation of the company; 35 percent said that regulation should not change, and 11 percent said it should decrease.
Negative perceptions extend to other big tech companies as well, with 66 percent saying they do not trust companies such as Google or Amazon to do what is best for their users.
DUBAI: Spotify has released the UAE edition of its annual global culture and trends report, “Culture Next,” featuring the UAE for the first time, exploring the role of digital audio in the lives of Gen Zs and millennials.
The COVID-19 pandemic upended the idea of “normalcy,” Dawn Ostroff, Spotify’s chief content and advertising business officer, said in the report. She added that an ongoing global movement for racial justice continues to challenge the status quo and fuel social change.
With this in the background, Spotify spoke to Gen Zs and millennials to understand the shifts in how both generations are creating, curating, and experiencing culture.
“Audio is playing a major part in culture. We are excited to share how two different generations are shaping the audio landscape,” said Omar Aboushady, account director for partner sales in the MENA region.
“Through this report, we hope to inspire and provide guidance to advertisers, marketers, and creatives as they develop marketing strategies, products, and creative campaigns to reach and engage Gen Zs and millennials,” he added.
Spotify’s global research revealed that without school and face-to-face time with friends, Gen Zs have reported more feelings of loneliness over the course of the pandemic. During this time, audio has emerged as a stress reliever for both generations, with 69 percent of millennials and 58 percent of Gen Zs in the UAE saying they use audio to reduce their stress.
Moreover, 61 percent of Gen Zs feel “more centered and generally happier” when listening to their favorite music on a daily basis, and 68 percent of millennials see audio as a mental health resource.
The role of audio in mental health and wellness is evidenced in the success of the “mental health” podcast category, which saw an overwhelming 601 percent increase in listenership among Gen Zs and a 555 percent jump among millennials in just one year.
During a time when physical interaction has been limited, both generations have turned to streaming to discover and explore culture and form new connections. In the UAE, 73 percent of millennials and 54 percent of Gen Zs believe that streaming platforms in general, including audio, have significantly shaped the way they discover and connect to the culture as a whole.
64 percent of millennials and 46 percent of Gen Zs have used music as a way to discover cultures and experiences different from their own, and 59 percent of millennials and 46 percent of Gen Zs have made a friend who lives in another country through music or podcasts.
Gen Zs are the most racially and culturally diverse and aware generation, and they expect brands to reflect, represent, and empower them through their marketing activities.
For young millennials and Gen Zs in particular, the emergence of new voices in the audio space has made them feel represented. Sixty-two percent of millennials and 43 percent of Gen Zs said they searched for more content from more diverse creators and podcasts last year.
Meanwhile, 51 percent of Gen Zs believe they have more freedom than previous generations to express their authenticity and both generations agree that today’s culture is more open than ever to hearing divergent voices.
The need for authenticity is also reflected in their affinity toward podcasts. Podcasters have emerged as refreshing content creators who feel more authentic and accessible versus, for example, scripted and recorded TV show hosts. With voice playing the primary role in audio, 65 percent of millennials in the UAE believe the actual voices of podcast hosts can make or break a podcast.
The pandemic’s effect was evident once again in the mixed reality, combining real and virtual, that both generations are experiencing. While Gen Zs are eager to resume in-person experiences, millennials are comfortable with continuing to attend virtual events.
Last year, 68 percent of millennials and Gen Zs globally attended a virtual experience. Looking forward, in the UAE, millennials (56 percent) were more likely than Gen Zs (47 percent) to continue attending virtual concerts after the pandemic is over, since they are cheaper and more convenient than in-person experiences. Sixty-one percent of millennials even went on to say that audio is the most immersive form of media.
The attitudes of millennials and GenZs towards audio streaming have created a significant opportunity for media, brands, and creators, especially considering the skirmishes most other media channels are facing today.
YANGON: A Myanmar junta court on Friday sentenced an American journalist to 11 years in prison on charges of unlawful association, incitement against the military and breaching visa rules, his employer and lawyer said.
The military has squeezed the press since taking power in a February coup, arresting dozens of journalists critical of its crackdown on dissent, which has killed over 1,200 people according to a local monitoring group.
Danny Fenster, who had been working for local outlet Frontier Myanmar for around a year, was arrested in May as he tried to leave the country to see his family.
He was sentenced to 11 years for incitement, unlawful association and breaching visa rules, his lawyer Than Zaw Aung told AFP.
His client had not decided whether he would appeal, he added.
A junta spokesman did not respond to AFP’s request for comment.
Fenster, who has been held in Yangon’s Insein prison since he was detained, also faces charges of sedition and terrorism, which could see him jailed for life.
“Everyone at Frontier is disappointed and frustrated at this decision,” Frontier Myanmar said in a statement.
“We just want to see Danny released as soon as possible so he can go home to his family.”
Ming Yu Hah, Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for Campaigns said the ruling was “a reprehensible outcome in a case that has been deeply flawed from the start.”

The sentencing was based on evidence from the junta-appointed information ministry that showed at the time of his arrest Fenster had been working at local outlet, Myanmar Now, which had its license revoked shortly after the coup, Than Zaw Aung said.
Fenster’s team were barred from cross-examining the ministry’s permanent secretary, he said, and the court did not consider tax evidence that Fenster had already left the outlet and was working for Frontier.
Crisis Group Myanmar senior adviser Richard Horsey described the sentence as “outrageous.”
“It sends a message not only to international journalists… but also Myanmar journalists that reporting factually on the situation is liable to get them many many years in prison,” he told AFP.
He noted US diplomats were working to get him released.
“It will be resolved through diplomatic channels and hopefully very quickly,” he said.
“But obviously this sentence is a big setback to US efforts.”
The sentencing comes days after former US diplomat and hostage negotiator Bill Richardson met junta chief Min Aung Hlaing in the capital Naypyidaw, handing the increasingly isolated junta some rare publicity.
Richardson, declining to give further details, said the US State Department asked him not to raise Fenster’s case during his visit.
Fenster is believed to have contracted Covid-19 during his detention, family members said during a conference call with American journalists in August.
He last spoke with US consular officials by phone on October 31, State Department spokesman Ned Price said Monday.
Myanmar has been mired in chaos since a February coup, with the military trying to crush widespread democracy protests and stamp out dissent.
More than 1,200 people have been killed by security forces, according to a local monitoring group.
The press has also been squeezed as the junta tries to tighten control over the flow of information, throttling Internet access and revoking the licenses of local media outlets.
More than 100 journalists have been arrested since the putsch, according to Reporting ASEAN, a monitoring group.
It says 31 are still in detention.
The coup snuffed out Myanmar’s short-lived experiment with democracy, with civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi now facing a raft of charges in a junta court that could see her jailed for decades.
LONDON: The Committee to Protect Journalists has condemned the arrest of Arab Iranian photojournalist Rahil Mousavi, urging Iranian authorities to drop all charges and immediately release her.
Iranian security forces, affiliated with the intelligence ministry, arrested Mousavi in the city of Khorramshahr, located in the predominantly Arab province of Khuzestan, and took her to an undisclosed location.
“Iranian authorities must free photojournalist Rahil Mousavi immediately and unconditionally, and let her do her job documenting the lives of Arab minorities in Iran,” said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Sherif Mansour.
“Journalists must be able to work without the fear that they will be arbitrarily detained.”
Authorities have reportedly not specified the reason behind Mousavi’s arrest or disclosed any of the charges leveled against her.
Mousavi is a freelance photojournalist who has contributed photos to UNICEF, the International Federation of Photographic Art and the New York-based Middle East Images photo agency.
Iranian authorities have Mousavi on previous occasions. In 2016, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps detained her while she covered a street protest in Khorramshahr.
According to Reporters Without Borders, Iran ranks 174 out of 180 countries on the 2021 Press Freedom Index.
Since the 1979 revolution, at least 860 journalists and citizen journalists have been prosecuted, arrested, imprisoned, and in some cases, executed by the Iranian regime.
LONDON: The Committee to Protect Journalists has condemned the killing of Yemeni journalist Rasha Abdullah Al-Harazi, who died in a car explosion while she was driving through a neighborhood in southern Aden.
Al-Harazi was nine-months pregnant at the time of her death and was traveling with her husband, Mahmoud Al-Atmi, who is also a journalist. He survived the blast but was seriously injured.
Al-Harazi worked for three Gulf newspapers, Al-Ain, Al-Sharq, and the UAE-based Bloomberg Asharq. Al-Atmi contributes to Al-Arabiya and the Saudi news channel Al-Hadath.
“Rasha Abdullah Al-Harazi’s horrific killing and Mahmoud Al-Atmi’s grievous injuries illustrate how Yemeni journalists face death daily by simply living in their home country and covering the news,” said CPJ’s Senior Middle East and North Africa Researcher Justin Shilad.
It was unclear whether the attack was targeting Al-Harazi or her husband. Al-Atmi had reportedly received threats from the Houthis.
Yemeni journalist Bassem Al-Janani posted screenshots on social media showing how Al-Atmi was previously describing how members of the Houthis had been asking for information about his address in Aden and a description of his car.
“On Oct. 6, my colleague Mahmoud Al-Atmi contacted me saying that the Houthis have summoned some journalists in Hodeidah to ask for information about Al-Atmi, including his car plate number and his address,” Al-Janani’s post read. “I advised him to immediately leave Aden, but he refused because his wife was about to give birth.”
“He wanted to leave after she gave birth, but their car was targeted today with an IED,” Al-Janani wrote. “The Houthis have previously abducted Mahmoud’s brother to pressure him alongside various other journalists in Hodeidah to get information about him.”

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The killing of Al-Harazi was condemned by various international and human rights organizations, including the UN, the EU, the Yemen Journalist Syndicate and the Gulf Center for Human Rights.

The EU condemns the attack against journalists Rasha al-Harazi and her husband Mahmoud al-Otmi in #Aden, which killed pregnant al-Harazi and seriously injured al-Otmi. Perpetrators must be brought to justice. Rights violations against journalists affect freedom of expression. pic.twitter.com/eycJrndK1c
At least 19 journalists have been killed in Yemen since the conflict broke out in 2014, and at least two were killed in Aden last year, according to CPJ research.
DUBAI: Nasr eSports, one of the Middle East’s leading organizations in the gaming industry, has partnered with short-form mobile video platform TikTok.
The collaboration aims to provide the TikTok community with high-quality gaming content from professional players and content creators.
The partnership makes Nasr the first esports organization in the region and one of just a handful in the world to form a strategic partnership with TikTok.
“We are delighted to have embarked on this partnership as it marks a first of its kind venture with an esports organization regionally. Already driving significant engagement on the platform, the Nasr TikTok page features dozens of videos, reaching millions of users across the Middle East’s gaming audience,” Hany Kamel, TikTok MENA content operations director, told Arab News.
As part of the collaboration, the Nasr team’s newly redesigned kit will carry TikTok branding. Additionally, the two companies will work on new content ventures that will engage both parties with the region’s growing gaming community.
Kamel added that esports has been gaining popularity worldwide and that this was reflected on TikTok, especially during the pandemic when many offline gaming events were canceled.
“We are glad to see that TikTok has become an important gaming hub for such events and contributed in providing a massive window of different gaming opportunities,” he said.
The Nasr eSports account on TikTok is already reaching millions of viewers, and “this partnership will ensure that we are giving our users access to exciting new content ventures featuring leading talent,” said Kamel.
Arab News also spoke to some of the gamers to learn about their journey in the world of gaming on and off TikTok.
Tekken Master
How did you get into esports?
I started my journey in esports in 2010 with the game Tekken 6 in Kuwait. I have always wanted to become one of the best in the world since I was eight years old. My brothers helped me a lot to achieve this. They believed that I had a talent for playing fighting games competitively, so they began flying me across the world, where I was able to become one of the best in history.
And from there, Nasr eSports saw my full potential and signed me as a pro player in their team. After that, I have grown from strength to strength, as they understand exactly what support a player needs to focus on performing at competitions.
Tell us about your journey and experience on TikTok
When I saw the potential of TikTok, I started using it with the help of my team and Thaj, the marketing manager of Nasr. What I like about TikTok is that it helps creators a lot — the follower count doesn’t matter for the video to go viral as long as it has some creativity.
I want to have more followers; people who see my true potential and create innovative esports videos. It helps me a lot in brainstorming more ideas and improving my content creation skills.
SirSAN
How did you get into esports?
It started when my high school friends talked about the FIFA player status and who is better at FIFA. So, I decided to buy a PS3 and FIFA to play with them, and soon after, I got addicted to the ultimate team. That was when I started to get competitive. But FIFA didn’t fully fulfill my needs, so I switched to PS4 and purchased Destiny and Trials of Osiris.
When I won a game against a much more experienced player, it was a moment of happiness or achieving a level of improvement to defeat a player and a team that you never thought of winning a single round against, let alone a whole game. That was when I realized how much I loved playing competitively and how deep I was into esports.
Tell us about your journey and experience on TikTok
It wasn’t a smooth transition from other social apps to TikTok. Still, when you learn how to use the app and see that good content gets appreciated and you’re not punished for posting boring content like what happens on YouTube, you get encouraged to post more entertaining and fun-to-watch content. I started using it mid-2020 when COVID-19 got to me, but I never really liked it. As time passed, I started using it daily, and it became an essential app that I needed to have on my mobile.
What I like most about TikTok is the comments section. The creative comments on the viral videos take the fun to a whole new level. Also, I love seeing old fans commenting on my videos about the other content they’ve seen on TikTok or YouTube.
I use TikTok to entertain and refresh my mind, de-stress, and get back to the game and make content. I know that I’ve had a productive day when I see a lot of TikTok notifications on my phone after work.
Mark Tube
How did you get into esports?
My entry into the world of games, in general, was caused by the great love and passion that I had when playing and making gaming content. This developed when I took it to the level of professionalism. I began to discover the world of esports and its incredible impact in the field of games. My journey in esports started when I joined Nasr eSports, which enabled me to develop (my skills) a lot — they supported me immensely in all respects.
Tell us about your journey and experience on TikTok
I started on TikTok a year ago, and it was one of the best decisions I have made. To me, TikTok is the ideal platform for any content creator, as it helped me reach a sizable audience that is interested in the gaming content that I present. My fans and players on TikTok are outstanding — their reactions to my content give me great encouragement and joy, which motivates me to continue.
My main goal is to add unique, helpful and enjoyable content on the platform and be the best gaming content creator with a variety of content. My goal was also to reach 1 million followers on TikTok, but now, I have raised the bar and aim to reach 5 million followers and then search for a new goal.
Kakashi Gaming
How did you get into esports?
I started as a casual gamer playing my favorite games. Since the age of 14, I would record videos of myself playing video games and show them to my friends at school. Shortly after that, I started my gaming channel on YouTube and gained 45,000 subscribers. Just as I joined TikTok and started building my audience over there, Nasr eSports offered me a chance to enter the world of esports as a content creator, and I happily accepted.
Tell us about your journey and experience on TikTok
I joined TikTok in July 2020, and it didn’t take me much time to get comfortable with the app and come up with creative ideas. I like how TikTok engages the creators with the fans and how easily creativity gets rewarded by great exposure and support.
The platform is an excellent way to widen my audience and the follower count, uniquely introduce myself to big brands and get noticed by the crowds.
Big Bird
How did you get into esports?
It began when Nasr eSports contacted me to join their team. The following year the Red Bull competition came along. Before then, I would just play for fun and didn’t think I’d ever take it seriously. But Nasr eSports supported and guided me, and helped me launch my career in professional esports.
Tell us about your journey and experience on TikTok
I got into TikTok heavily once Nasr announced the partnership with TikTok. I decided to start investing my time in it as I kept hearing it’s the number one social media app — the growth potential is uncapped.
My objective is to grow my brand, and TikTok is the best tool for that. I want people to know more about what I do, but also more about my personal life. TikTok is the best application for that job.
Angry Bird
How did you get into esports?
My journey into esports was just for fun at the beginning. I didn’t expect myself to go pro or get sponsored and play at an international level. When my friend Big Bird got signed by Nasr eSports and started doing what we always hoped to, I got excited and started playing because I wanted to beat these guys on an international level.
So, I stopped playing for fun and began practicing to be a pro player, and it worked out well for us, and we were able to become some of the best players in the world.
Tell us about your journey and experience on TikTok
TikTok is amazing. I first posted on it last year to test it, and then I stopped, but as time moved on, I was amazed by the gaming content on TikTok, so I was motivated to work hard on it. All of my friends were starting to get into TikTok as well.
My goals are to upgrade my gaming fan base on TikTok as itseems to have a lot of people who are into games, so it’s way better to use the platform to attract these audiences and provide some fantastic content for them.

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