Social media reveals how people feel about reopening UAE

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The easing of COVID-19 restrictions in the UAE has been welcomed by the public despite concerns about safety, analysis of social media posts in relation to official announcements shows. (File/AFP)
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Updated 02 July 2020

Social media reveals how people feel about reopening UAE

  • Posts by official bodies such as the Abu Dhabi and Dubai media offices gained high amounts of traction and were widely shared
  • The influence of the media was likewise high in terms of distributing news and updates

DUBAI: The easing of COVID-19 restrictions across the UAE has by and large been welcomed by the public despite lingering concerns about safety, analysis of social media posts in relation to official announcements shows. 
The study, conducted by analytics and technology consultancy Anavizio, captured 8,000 social media posts from May 24 to June 21, including updates by local and federal UAE authorities as well as the media, along with social media users’ reaction to these.
Detailed analysis of a random sample of user posts and comments show 22 percent expressing happiness about the initial reopening of businesses, restaurants, beaches and hotels in late May and early June.


However, 15 percent of users questioned whether the easing of restrictions was coming too early, while 10 percent expressed concerns about the resumption of specific activities such as the reopening of gyms.
Public attitudes evolved during the four weeks covered by the study, with 17 percent of users expressing increased confidence in visiting beaches and restaurants during the latter part of the research period. Nevertheless, concerns remained around public safety and the state of the economy.
Posts by official bodies such as the Abu Dhabi and Dubai media offices gained high amounts of traction and were widely shared, while Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammad bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, crown prince of Dubai and chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, proved to be a major voice amplifying government messages. The influence of the media was likewise high in terms of distributing news and updates.


Facebook Journalism Project and ICFJ launch fund to support Lebanon’s news industry

Updated 13 August 2020

Facebook Journalism Project and ICFJ launch fund to support Lebanon’s news industry

  • The new program will support local media outlets

The Facebook Journalism Project, in collaboration with the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), has announced that it will invest $300,000 in a program that aims to support the stabilization and recovery needs of journalists and news organizations in Lebanon affected by the Beirut explosion.

The new program called “Supporting Beirut: Response and Recovery Fund” will assist in supporting local media outlets that have suffered damage to infrastructure and resources.

ICFJ and Facebook will award $150,000 in emergency relief funds to Beirut-based news organizations and journalists directly impacted by the blast and in need of urgent financial support.

The first phase of this program will involve identifying Lebanese news organizations and journalists who require financial support. These journalists and news organizations will then be able to apply for immediate emergency relief grants. ICFJ will award grants to select Beirut-based news organizations and journalists who meet a set criteria.

“Our hearts go out to the people of Lebanon and everyone affected by this immeasurable tragedy,” said Mohamed Omar, news partnerships manager, Middle East and North Africa, at Facebook. “We’ve been getting regular updates from our contacts in Beirut; the damage to the city’s infrastructure, including its many newsrooms, is enormous. In spite of these devastating circumstances, the news industry is working hard, under extraordinary conditions, to keep people informed and updated,” he said.

“We applaud their efforts and are continuously working with our partners to both understand their needs and support them the best we can,” he added.

ICFJ, a non-profit organization focused on raising the quality of journalism worldwide, will mobilize its local networks to implement a two-phase response and recovery initiative for the Beirut crisis.

Sharon Moshavi, ICFJ’s senior vice president for new initiatives, said: “People turn to local journalists for critical information on how to keep their friends, families and communities safe. As the impact of the devastating explosion continues to unfold in Beirut, ICFJ is prepared to work with the Facebook Journalism Project to provide tailored support to Lebanese journalists and news organizations that are providing critical information to a nation in crisis.”

The Facebook Journalism Project and ICFJ will offer additional, deeper support to select Beirut-based news organizations during phase two, depending on the longer-term impacts of the crisis.

Earlier this week, Facebook announced that it would donate more than $2.1 million to local hospitals, medical institutions and NGOs to support relief and recovery efforts, $1 million of which has been matched by its community as part of a Facebook fundraiser.