Arab News partners with Facebook to broadcast Ramadan prayers from Makkah

Arab News, the Riyadh-based regional English-language newspaper, has partnered with Facebook to broadcast prayers from Saudi Arabia during Ramadan. (AFP)
Updated 16 May 2018
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Arab News partners with Facebook to broadcast Ramadan prayers from Makkah

  • The newspaper will carry the Taraweeh prayers — the additional evening prayers performed during the Islamic holy month
  • These videos will be available in real-time on Arab News’ newsfeed in conjunction with Facebook

RIYADH: Arab News, the Riyadh-based regional English-language newspaper, has partnered with Facebook to broadcast prayers from Saudi Arabia during Ramadan.
The newspaper will carry the Taraweeh prayers — the additional evening prayers performed during the Islamic holy month — live from the Holy Mosque in Makkah.
These videos will be available in real-time on Arab News’ newsfeed in conjunction with Facebook and the Saudi state-owned television as part of the newspaper’s wider coverage during Ramadan.
“Our partnership with Facebook will allow our audiences across the world — who perhaps couldn’t make it to Makkah for the Muslim holy month — to capture some of the spirituality of Ramadan as we live broadcast the Taraweeh prayers from the Holy Mosque every night,” said Faisal J. Abbas, editor in chief of Arab News.
“Other Ramadan-related coverage will include human stories from the Middle East and beyond, as Muslims across the world together celebrate this important month of fasting, prayer and reflection.”
Fares Akkad, Facebook’s head of media partnerships in the Middle East,Turkey and Africa, also welcomed the partnership.
“We work with publishers and broadcasters to offer specific tools and features to help engage people around the programming that matters most to them and the content they love to share with friends,” Akkad said.
“Our partnership with Arab News gives people access to a live experience on Facebook that is immediate, authentic and interactive.”
The Ramadan videos will be broadcast via the newspaper’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/TheArabNews while readers will find wider coverage at www.arabnews.com.


Google employees demand more oversight of China search engine plan

A Google sign is seen during the China Digital Entertainment Expo and Conference (ChinaJoy) in Shanghai, China August 3, 2018. (REUTERS)
Updated 17 August 2018
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Google employees demand more oversight of China search engine plan

  • Hundreds of employees have called on the company to provide more “transparency, oversight and accountability
  • Employees have asked Google to create an ethics review group with rank-and-file workers, appoint ombudspeople to provide independent review and internally publish assessments of projects

SAN FRANCISCO: Google is not close to launching a search engine app in China, its chief executive said at a companywide meeting on Thursday, according to a transcript seen by Reuters, as employees of the Alphabet Inc. unit called for more transparency and oversight of the project.
Chief Executive Sundar Pichai told staff that though development is in an early stage, providing more services in the world’s most populous country fits with Google’s global mission.
Hoping to gain approval from the Chinese government to provide a mobile search service, the company plans to block some websites and search terms, Reuters reported this month, citing unnamed sources.
Whether the company could or would launch search in China “is all very unclear,” Pichai said, according to the transcript. “The team has been in an exploration stage for quite a while now, and I think they are exploring many options.”
Disclosure of the secretive effort has disturbed some Google employees and human rights advocacy organizations. They are concerned that by agreeing to censorship demands, Google would validate China’s prohibitions on free expression and violate the “don’t be evil” clause in the company’s code of conduct.
Hundreds of employees have called on the company to provide more “transparency, oversight and accountability,” according to an internal petition seen by Reuters on Thursday.
After a separate petition this year, Google announced it would not renew a project to help the US military develop artificial intelligence technology for drones.
The China petition says employees are concerned the project, code named Dragonfly, “makes clear” that ethics principles Google issued during the drone debate “are not enough.”
“We urgently need more transparency, a seat at the table and a commitment to clear and open processes: Google employees need to know what we’re building,” states the document seen by Reuters.
The New York Times first reported the petition on Thursday. Google declined to comment.
Company executives have not commented publicly on Dragonfly, and their remarks at the company-wide meeting marked their first about the project since details about it were leaked.
Employees have asked Google to create an ethics review group with rank-and-file workers, appoint ombudspeople to provide independent review and internally publish assessments of projects that raise substantial ethical questions.
Pichai told employees: “We’ll definitely be transparent as we get closer to actually having a plan of record here” on Dragonfly, according to the transcript. He noted the company guards information on some projects where sharing too early can “cause issues.”
Three former employees involved with Google’s past efforts in China told Reuters current leadership may see offering limited search results in China as better than providing no information at all.
The same rationale led Google to enter China in 2006. It left in 2010 over an escalating dispute with regulators that was capped by what security researchers identified as state-sponsored cyberattacks against Google and other large US firms.
The former employees said they doubt the Chinese government will welcome back Google. A Chinese official, who declined to be named, told Reuters this month that it is “very unlikely” Dragonfly would be available this year.