Social media in the Middle East

15 October 2018 News 0

The uncertainty the press’s future keeps on reigning in the media sector. Every day, new techniques and different sources of information are emerging; dozens of applications enter the competition daily. Amazon competes with YouTube, WhatsApp tries to crush Snapchat, Twitter wants a share of Facebook users. Every 15 seconds, a new user joins the social media, messages sent and received on “Facebook” and “whatsApp” amount to 62 billion per day, and daily video views on Facebook and Snapchat are estimated at 8 billion.

 

The press faced with social media

However, even if written press is in a difficult situation due to readership rates and advertising revenues decline, the case of news television channels is not much better since it is also affected by the crisis.

This situation is mainly caused by social media, which poses a real threat to traditional media, as they are becoming more widespread and even influential. Today, it is no longer surprising to see people relying on “WhatsApp” as a source of new information and even trying to convince others with news that have no source other than this very application.  Similarly, even the so-called “credible” information from Twitter or Facebook is in reality only a rerun of other media content, namely that social networks do not have informational contents and do not produce them originally.

It is certainly true that social networks add pleasure and passion to the way information is received. However, with the new habits of Internet users, the use of social networks tends to become an addiction more than a simple consultation of a source of information. Even worse, the real danger of these platforms lies in the reliability and veracity of the information disseminated. Because social media are still vulnerable to piracy and falsification, the real challenge is to maintain the truthfulness, reliability and accuracy of the message being broadcasted.

Yet, even under such circumstances, written press is well and truly alive, contrary to what is widespread, readers in the Middle East tend to prefer it mainly because it is the most reliable media source. This means that even with the existence of tension between traditional media sources and electronic sources, as long as users are wary of information manipulation, there will always be a need for a credible media source, in other words, the press’s weapon of war is nothing but its reliability. In other words, to get out of this critical situation, press professionals must think about making a compromise between written press and digital press, by supplementing paper editions with electronic editions. Like the case of Bashar Kiwan, the founder of al-Waseet International (AWI) group, who has always been interested in the digital evolution of the Middle East while being aware of the importance of credibility in this field and was subsequently able to use the Internet in his favour, to produce reliable and relevant content for the digital age.

 

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