Ukraine beauty queen live streams own death in drink-fueled road crash

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Sofia Magerko, 16, shown in a scree grab from the live stream she filmed shortly before her death
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Dasha Medvedeva, 24, who was driving the BMW, pictured here moments before the crash
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The mangled remains of the BMW Sofia Magerko, 16, and Dasha Medvedeva, 24, were driving
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The BMW Sofia Magerko, 16, and Dasha Medvedeva, 24, were driving when they crashed into a lamppost at high speed
Updated 02 July 2017

Ukraine beauty queen live streams own death in drink-fueled road crash

A teenage beauty queen live streamed her own death on social media, as she and a friend were drinking and driving in Ukraine.

Sofia Magerko, 16, and Dasha Medvedeva, 24, could be seen drinking and driving as loud music is played in what was later revealed to be a BMW.

The camera is turned to look out of the window and then suddenly there is a crashing noise, the sound of debris falling and then silence. The vehicle they were in had smashed head first into a lamppost.

Magerko, who had recently won a beauty pageant in her home city of Izyum, died immediately, her friend, Medvedeva, who can be seen driving erratically, died on the way to the hospital.

In the moments before their deaths they can be seen laughing and joking — saying how much they “enjoyed life” — while drinking what appears to have been alcohol from bottles.

According to British website MailOnline a male voice could be heard shortly after describing the scene, presumably to emergency services, explaining: “There is a dead body here… another one fell out of the car.”

The footage, which was shown on the image sharing website Instagram, is just the latest in a series of fatal incidents broadcast to the world as they happened, via social media.

In April Steve Stephens broadcast himself on Facebook Live when he murdered Robert Godwin, 74, shooting him in the head in an unprovoked attack in an Ohio street.

Stephens had been streaming himself, saying he was going to kill more people after his relationship with his partner, Joy Lane, broke down after three years. He later turned the gun on himself after a manhunt was launched.

And in June a young couple in Finland streamed their deaths. On this occasion the pair had filmed themselves drinking from bottles of alcohol and then getting into a car and driving at high speed, before crashing off the road.

There have been other murders and suicides streamed on social media. So bad is the problem, that Facebook recently announced plans to hire a further 3,000 more staff to monitor content being shared on the site.

And Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page: “If we’re going to build a safe community, we need to respond quickly. We’re working to make these videos easier to report so we can take the right action sooner — whether that’s responding quickly when someone needs help or taking a post down.”

He added that Facebook staff were working on creating better software to prevent such content from being posted in the first place.

Snapchat evolving the use of the camera from entertainment to utility

Updated 39 min 37 sec ago

Snapchat evolving the use of the camera from entertainment to utility

  • Hussein Freijeh: Our audience in the GCC market specifically understood the core product value of Snapchat and they use Snapchat as a camera
  • Hussein Freijeh: They communicate visually through pictures and videos and they understood the format that Snapchat created for a mobile-only world

DUBAI: At the core of every modern mobile phone is a camera and one self-declared “camera company” has placed its focus on the Snapchat community in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).

As far as Snap is concerned, the camera is king. “Our audience in the GCC market specifically understood the core product value of Snapchat and they use Snapchat as a camera,” said Hussein Freijeh, general manager of Snap in MENA.

“They communicate visually through pictures and videos and they understood the format that Snapchat created for a mobile-only world.”

There are currently 34 million monthly unique users on Snapchat in MENA with the platform reaching 60 percent of 13- to 24-year-olds in the UAE and 90 percent of the same age bracket in Saudi Arabia – more than Instagram.

In fact, the company said that Snapchat had a higher open rate than Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, throughout Ramadan 2019 in Saudi Arabia.

“When the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic came, the need for people to communicate increased massively. As a result, we’ve seen a massive increase in our engagement because this is what Snapchat is all about,” added Freijeh.

As more people have spent time on the platform, Snapchat has evolved its offering beyond just entertainment and communication, to utility.

Freijeh noted that Snapchat already had an extremely engaged community and the next step was to work with developers and partners and bring them within the ecosystem to innovate further.

An example of this was the announcement of Minis at the Snap Partner Summit 2020, which are third-party apps that are integrated into Snapchat. Meditation app, Headspace, is one such example allowing users to meditate from within Snapchat.

“One of the things that makes us extremely excited about how we’re evolving as a platform is that idea of adding utility to entertainment on Snapchat. When I pull out my camera and point it toward a mathematic formula, and the camera solves it for me … automatically Snapchat and the camera of Snapchat moves from entertainment to the utility component,” the GM said.

Minis announced at the summit are being launched in the region based on local relevance and demand but Snap is already in active conversations with potential partners to “make sure that we find those cases where the utility would make sense to the local audiences and find the best partners that we can work with on those areas.”

Another topic of conversation at the summit was Originals, shows created specifically for Snapchat by publishers and broadcasters. Currently there are no regionally produced Originals but there are Shows.

Freijeh said that Snapchat expanded its content offering on Discover, which started with a list of news and media organizations such as Sky News and Al Arabiya, to creating Shows for the platform.

During Ramadan, the company announced 40 new Shows with top publishers across the MENA region. Freijeh said that Shows included content that sat on Snapchat but could be published on multiple platforms, whereas Originals were more exclusive to Snapchat and created for a specific purpose and genre.

The platform also works with streaming services such as OSN to promote its services and content on Snapchat. Depending on the partner’s objective, Freijeh said, for instance, that if a service wanted to publish its content on Snapchat and if Snap believed that the content was engaging and the community would appreciate it, it would publish it.

“So far, our value to those services, specifically OSN, has been around driving audiences to them and being able to drive subscription,” he added.

In April 2020, OSN ran a campaign on Snapchat to increase awareness and drive new subscriptions for OSN Streaming through a series of ads.

The campaign targeted a huge diversity of demographics in both English and Arabic within the GCC as well as Jordan and Lebanon and included the launch of a dedicated Snapchat Lens to bring to life the season premiere of “Killing Eve.”

The Lens reached more than 2.2 million unique Snapchatters throughout the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. Over the course of the campaign, Snapchat delivered 34 percent of the total purchases and one-fifth of all sign-ups.

Despite the overall dampening of the advertising industry due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Freijeh remained optimistic.

“One of the advantages of the pandemic, unfortunately, is the shift toward e-commerce and online purchases and behaviors. There’s a consensus in the market that one of the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 is going to be that aggressive and accelerated shift toward e-commerce behaviors across all sectors, and as a platform we’re very focused on that,” he said.

The hospitality, travel, and luxury sectors – big spenders on Snapchat – were naturally hit the most. “We’ve seen a lot of activity and ambition coming from major CPG (consumer packaged goods) players, retail, and e-commerce. We’ve built a very diverse business in the last four years at Snap and that has allowed us to be a little bit more resilient through this pandemic.”

By way of example he pointed out Dubai Tourism’s “Till We Meet Again” campaign, which included the launch of four Snapchat Lenses to transport users in the UK and France to Dubai to experience famous destinations including the Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Frame, Al-Seef, and Madinat Jumeirah.

During the two weeks that the campaign ran, more than 9.2 million people in the UK and France used the Lenses to virtually visit local landmarks and users exceeded time-spent expectations by more than 180 percent.

According to a post-campaign brand study that ran in May to examine users’ desire to consider Dubai as a travel destination once travel became possible, 30 percent of Snapchatters in the UK and France were positive about visiting Dubai once COVID-19 restrictions were eased.

Snap is confident about its position and role in the face of competition and crises.

“We have a strong business in MENA; our position is really strong here and the way we diversified the business, gave us strength to make sure that we weather the impact of the pandemic for now,” Freijeh said.