LONDON: The Saudi media delegation accompanying Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on his regional tour visited a number of Egyptian media institutions over the past few days, including Al-Ahram, Al-Akhbar and Youm7 newspapers and InfoTimes studio, where they were briefed on the services provided by these outlets.
The Saudi delegation and the leaders of Egyptian media institutions discussed ways to cooperate and exchange experience in media in order to enhance bilateral relations between the two countries.
Saudi Arabia’s crown prince arrived in Cairo on Monday for the first leg of his Middle East tour, where he was received by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
The prince will then depart to Jordan for talks with its monarch, King Abdullah II.
Twitter owner Musk signals new ‘war’ against Apple
Musk on Monday also called Apple’s fee on transactions through its App Store a “secret 30 percent tax”
Updated 29 November 2022
SAN FRANCISCO: Twitter owner Elon Musk on Monday opened fire against Apple over its tight control of what is allowed on the App Store, saying the iPhone maker has threatened to oust his recently acquired social media platform.
Musk also joined the chorus crying foul over a 30 percent fee Apple collects on transactions via its App Store — the sole gateway for applications to get onto its billion plus mobile devices.
A series of tweets fired off by Musk included a meme of a car with his first name on it veering onto a highway off-ramp labeled “Go to War,” instead of continuing onwards toward “Pay 30 percent.”
The billionaire CEO also tweeted that Apple has “threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store, but won’t tell us why.”
Apple did not immediately reply to an AFP request for comment.
Both Apple and Google require social networking services on their app stores to have effective systems for moderating harmful or abusive content.
But since taking over Twitter last month, Musk has cut around half of Twitter’s workforce, including many employees tasked with fighting disinformation, while an unknown number of others have voluntarily quit.
He has also reinstated previously banned accounts, including that of former president Donald Trump.
Yoel Roth, the former head of trust and safety at Twitter who left after Musk took over, wrote in a New York Times op-ed that “failure to adhere to Apple’s and Google’s guidelines would be catastrophic,” and risk “expulsion from their app stores.”
Describing himself as a “free speech absolutist,” Musk believes that all content permitted by law should be allowed on Twitter, and on Monday described his actions as a “revolution against online censorship in America.”
He also tweeted that he planned to publish “Twitter Files on free speech suppression,” but without clarifying what data he had in mind to share with the public.
Though Musk says Twitter is seeing record high engagement with him at the helm, his approach has startled the company’s major moneymaker — advertisers.
In recent weeks, half of Twitter’s top 100 advertisers have announced they are suspending or have otherwise “seemingly stopped advertising on Twitter,” an analysis conducted by nonprofit watchdog group Media Matters found.
Musk on Monday accused Apple of also having “mostly stopped advertising on Twitter.”
“Do they hate free speech in America?” he asked, before replying with a tweet tagging Apple CEO Tim Cook.
In the first three months of 2022, Apple was the top advertiser on Twitter, spending some $48 million on ads which accounted for more than 4 percent of the social media platform’s revenue, according to a Washington Post report citing an internal Twitter document.
Sarah Roberts, an information studies expert at University of California, Los Angeles, told AFP that “Musk didn’t understand that Twitter itself was a brand, had cachet.”
“Now companies don’t even want to be associated with it. It’s not even that they worry about the content. Twitter is a tainted brand, a brand non grata companies don’t want to be associated with,” she added.
Musk on Monday also called Apple’s fee on transactions through its App Store a “secret 30 percent tax.”
He shared a video released last year by Fortnite maker Epic Games that portrayed Apple as an oppressor in a mocking spin on a famous “1984” ad for Macintosh computers.
Apple has clashed in court with Epic, which has sought to break Apple’s grip on the App Store, accusing the iPhone maker of operating a monopoly in its shop for digital goods or services.
A federal judge last year ordered Apple to loosen control of its App Store payment options, but said Epic had failed to prove that antitrust violations had taken place.
Musk’s controversial moves at Twitter, along with the possibility he will need to sell more Tesla shares to keep the social media platform afloat, has taken shine off of the electric car company and its stock, according to Wedbush analyst Dan Ives.
“The Musk vs Apple new battle is not what investors want to see,” Ives said in a tweet.
“(Wall) Street wants less drama, not more as this Twitter situation remains the gift that keeps on giving for the Tesla bears with every day a new chapter.”
Fox News reporter deletes inaccurate video after being challenged by Arab News reporter on TikTok
American sports reporter Jenny Taft said, ‘I just had to go through a special gate in Qatar for ladies only. Um, I don’t feel that special,” while pulling a sarcastic and smug face
Lama Alhamawi explained that gender-segregated gates reflect respect for personal boundaries, and that journalists have a responsibility not to spread misinformation or biased rhetoric
Updated 29 November 2022
LONDON: A Fox Sports reporter whose post on TikTok poked fun at gender-segregated entrances and security-searches at World Cup venues in Qatar deleted her video after being challenged by an Arab News reporter on Monday.
“I just had to go through a special gate in Qatar for ladies only. Um, I don’t feel that special,” Jenny Taft of Fox Sports said in the video while pulling a sarcastic and smug face.
Arab News reporter Lama Alhamawi took the opportunity to explain to Taft the reason for this and promptly put the American reporter firmly in her place.
I don’t normally post my TikToks on Twitter but seeing that has been a rise of viral videos spreading propaganda and false information during The FIFA World Cup hosted in Qatar, I feel it’s necessary. #FIFAWorldCuppic.twitter.com/C8qhLVBhNt
“As a fellow reporter, as a fellow journalist that’s years younger than you, that’s traveled to different countries covering various topics around the world, I’m going to give you some advice,” Alhamawi said.
“As journalists, we have a responsibility to uphold. We have a responsibility to do our due diligence to fully understand and investigate a topic before spreading any information, misinformation or biased rhetoric, as you did in this video.
“Now, let’s talk about the special gate you talked about … It’s a matter of one word that perfectly explains the special gate: respect. It’s a matter of respecting someone’s boundaries, their beliefs, their religious beliefs. A woman does not want to be searched by men, a man does not want to be searched by a woman.
“It’s a matter of respecting someone’s religious beliefs and boundaries and making them feel comfortable as they’re entering this country. Now, you hinted at the idea that it was based on discrimination or sexism. But it’s far from that: It’s a level of respect. The best word to describe it is respect.
“Now, judging by the way you conducted your video and executed it, that’s a word that’s foreign to you and something that you maybe don’t quite understand.”
Alhamawi garnered praise and support for calling out the veteran sports journalist.
“Absolutely spot on! I’m sick of seeing ignorant people judge,” one user wrote.
“Thank you Lama, for shedding light on this and for replying to it the best way possible,” said another.
Someone else wrote: “Beautifully said. Thank you for educating everyone with such grace.”
Following Alhamawai’s video and the barrage of supportive comments it attracted, Taft deleted her video.
Irish watchdog fines Meta 265M euros in latest privacy case
Meta said the data had been “scraped” from Facebook using tools designed to help people find their friends through phone numbers using search and contact import features
Updated 29 November 2022
LONDON: Irish regulators slapped Facebook parent Meta with a 265 million-euro ($277 million) fine Monday, the company’s latest punishment for breaching strict European Union data privacy rules.
The Data Protection Commission said Meta Platforms infringed sections of the EU rules, known as the General Data Protection Regulation, that require technical and organizational measures aimed at protecting user data.
The watchdog opened an investigation last year into news reports that data on more 533 million users was found dumped online. The data was found on a website for hackers and included names, Facebook IDs, phone numbers, locations, birthdates and email addresses for people from more than 100 countries, according to the reports.
Meta said the data had been “scraped” from Facebook using tools designed to help people find their friends through phone numbers using search and contact import features. The watchdog said it investigated the automated scraping carried out between May 2018 and September 2019.
The company said it had “cooperated fully” with the Irish watchdog.
“We made changes to our systems during the time in question, including removing the ability to scrape our features in this way using phone numbers,” Meta said in a statement. “Unauthorized data scraping is unacceptable and against our rules.”
Along with the fine, the commission said it also imposed on Meta a “range of corrective measures,” which weren’t specified.
When asked if Meta would appeal, a spokesman said, “We are still reviewing this decision carefully.”
It’s the latest in a series of punishments that the Irish watchdog has levied against Meta over the past two years.
The company, based in Menlo Park, California, has its European headquarters in Dublin, which makes the Irish authority its lead privacy regulator under the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, in a system known as “one-stop shop.”
The Irish watchdog fined Meta-owned Instagram 405 million euros in September after it found that the platform mishandled teenagers’ personal information. Meta was fined 17 million euro fines in March for its handling of a dozen data breach notifications.
Last year, the watchdog fined Meta’s chat service WhatsApp 225 million euros for violating rules on sharing people’s data with other Meta companies.
Former Shahid exec launches regional production company The Yard Films
Jakob Mejlhede Andersen co-founded the business, which will be based in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, with former Shine International CEO Camilla Hammer
The executive team also includes Phil Rostom, a 15-year veteran of the industry in the Middle East and North Africa
Updated 29 November 2022
DUBAI: Jakob Mejlhede Andersen, former chief content officer of MBC’s streaming platform Shahid, has teamed up with former Shine International CEO Camilla Hammer to launch The Yard Films, a regional production and development company.
The executive team behind the business, which will be based in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, also includes Phil Rostom, an industry veteran who has worked across the Middle East and North Africa for more than 15 years.
The founders said the new company will develop and produce original scripted and non-scripted content for local and international markets, targeted in particular at millennial and Gen Z audiences.
Andersen, who was involved in the production of more than 200 Nordic and Arabic scripted and non-scripted projects during his tenures at Shahid and Stockholm-based streaming service Viaplay, said: “It’s our ambition to produce and deliver groundbreaking content for the buoyant Arabic streaming market.”
“We aim to work in partnerships with the excellent local creative scene across the entire MENA region.”
Hammer said that the company’s team believes “in partnerships within the region and internationally.”
She added: “There is a wealth of stories across the Middle East that have a strong interest not only from local but also international platforms.”
Iranian filmmaker Reza Dormishian barred from travel, passport confiscated
Dormishian is only the latest in a long line of filmmakers to face Iran’s arbitrary detention policies
Updated 28 November 2022
DUBAI: Iran has barred filmmaker Reza Dormishian from leaving the country.
Dormishian was due to travel to the International Film Festival of India in Goa, where his film “A Minor” was scheduled to play.
On his arrival at the airport, his passport was confiscated. It is unclear if he was arrested and, if so, what the charges will be.
However, it is understood that the authorities’ action is the result of his recent social media posts about the Iranian government.
“Throughout the nationwide protests in Iran, Dormishian shared various posts on his Instagram account to show support for the significant developments,” sources close to him said, according to media reports.
In his most recent post, Dormishian had said: “I would die for a hair strand of Iranian people.
“I would die for the youth who are gone with the wind, from Balochistan to Kurdistan.
Dormishian is only the latest in a long line of filmmakers to face Iran’s arbitrary detention policies.
In July, acclaimed director Jafar Panahi was ordered to serve a six-year jail sentence, handed down a decade ago, after he attempted to find information about fellow filmmakers Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Aleahmad, who had been detained earlier.
Last month, Iranian filmmaker Mani Haghighi was prevented from leaving Iran to attend the BFI London Film Festival, where his latest film “Subtraction” was being screened.
And earlier this month, co-directors Farnaz and Mohammadreza Jurabchian were barred from traveling to the Netherlands for the International Documentary Film Festival where their film “Silent House” had its world premiere.
Directed by Dariush Mehrjui and produced by Dormishian, “A Minor” played in India on Thursday and Friday last week.