Facebook restructures kids team in quest for youth

Facebook’s rules require that children be at least 13 to create an account, but many are believed to get around the restrictions. (File/AFP)
Updated 08 February 2019
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Facebook restructures kids team in quest for youth

  • Facebook has been working to attract and keep young internet users being lured away by apps like Snapchat
  • "We conducted parent roundtables in each country and have continued gathering feedback from parents and outside experts," according to Facebook

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook on Thursday announced it had restructured its team devoted to products or features designed to increase the social network's appeal to younger generations.
Nascent projects such as a "LOL" platform for funny memes were taken off the board at the "youth team," which shifted focus to more promising products such as a Messenger Kids app launched more than a year ago, according to the leading social network.
"The Youth team has restructured in order to match top business priorities, including increasing our investment in Messenger Kids," Facebook said in response to an AFP inquiry.
Facebook in December 2017 introduced a version of its Messenger application designed to let young children connect with others under parental supervision. No in-app purchases are allowed.
The social media giant said at the time that it created the app, available in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Peru and Thailand, because many children were going online without safeguards.
"We found that there was a need for a video chat and messaging app that lets kids connect with the people they love while putting parents in complete control," product management lead Jennifer Billock said in a blog post marking the app's one year anniversary.
"We conducted parent roundtables in each country and have continued gathering feedback from parents and outside experts."
Facebook's rules require that children be at least 13 to create an account, but many are believed to get around the restrictions.
California-based Facebook has been working to attract and keep young internet users being lured away from the social network by apps such as photo- and video-oriented Snapchat.
Facebook said the reorganization of the team was not related to recent controversy regarding a research app that paid users, including teens, to track their smartphone activity as part of an effort to glean more data that could help the social network's competition efforts.
The youth team was not involved with the research project nor did it use any of the data collected, according to Facebook.


Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry inaugurates Arab News Pakistan bureau

Updated 16 February 2019
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Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry inaugurates Arab News Pakistan bureau

  • New office will be hub for Asian operation of paper and builds on relationship with community and its digital generation
  • Arab News launched its online Pakistan edition www.arabnews.pk in February last year as part of its global digital expansion plans

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Minister of Information and Broadcasting Fawad Chaudhry has officially inaugurated Arab News Pakistan bureau in the country’s capital.

Chaudhry was the chief guest at the occasion and several prominent Pakistani media personalities and Arab News staff also attended the launch ceremony.

Standing side by side with Arab News Editor-in-Chief Faisal J. Abbas, who is in Pakistan as part of the media delegation accompanying the royal visit by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and Arab News Asia Bureau Chief Baker Atyani, Chaudhry cut a ceremonial ribbon to open the office.

“I am very happy for two reasons: The perception was building that the newspapers were not coming (to Pakistan), so once an international publication like Arab News (has come here) it certainly gives us a huge boost.”

Chaudhry described how the relationship between the nations was becoming stronger, particularly with the growth of Pakistan’s voice in the Middle East.

‘Secondly, I think this is an era where Pakistan is playing a very important role in the Middle East and to have such a major Middle Eastern publication coming to Pakistan itself shows the kind of importance Pakistan has of the Middle East and vice versa, we are very happy to have you here.’

Editor-in-Chief Faisal J. Abbas thanked the Pakistani information minister for his presence at the inauguration and for the efforts of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to help facilitate the newspaper’s operations in Islamabad. 

“The inauguration of our Islamabad bureau a year after the launch of our local digital edition is an indicator of our commitment to Pakistan and our determination to help create a better understanding of Saudi Arabia and the region,” said Abbas. 

“Ever since its establishment in 1975, Arab News has had a special relationship with the massive and incredibly loyal Pakistani community in Saudi Arabia. Today we inaugurate this bureau in Islamabad to ensure a continued connection with the community and establish a relationship with a new more digital and highly connected generation,” he added. 

Asia Bureau Chief Baker Atyani said that the new office would be a hub not only for the Arab News Pakistan edition but also for the entire Asian operation of the paper. “We currently have reporters across Pakistan as well as nine other Asian countries and with the help, hard work and dedication of our team at the Islamabad bureau we hope not only to better manage our operation but to grow further in Asia as well.” 

Arab News launched its online Pakistan edition www.arabnews.pk in February last year as part of its global digital expansion plans. The project is the first of many new international editions planned by the Riyadh-based newspaper. 

Arab News is part of the regional publishing giant Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG).