‘Juhayman: 40 years on:’ Arab News’ multimedia project tells full story of 1979 Makkah siege

Updated 19 November 2019

‘Juhayman: 40 years on:’ Arab News’ multimedia project tells full story of 1979 Makkah siege

  • Featuring interviews with key players such as Prince Turki Al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s English-language newspaper tells the full story of the unthinkable event that cast a shadow over its society for decades
  • As part of its Deep Dive series online, featuring documentary-style multimedia stories, Arab News looks back at this event in a way no Saudi publication has done before

Forty years ago this week, on Nov. 20, 1979, a group of militants did the unthinkable: They seized the Grand Mosque in Makkah, taking people hostage inside in a two-week standoff with Saudi forces.

Until recently, the crisis remained too painful for Saudis to examine fully for almost four decades. Now Arab News, Saudi Arabia’s leading English-language daily, is looking back at the event in a way that no publication in the Kingdom has done before: with a multimedia Deep Dive story online at arabnews.com/juhayman-40-years-on.

“The 1979 attack on Makkah’s  Grand Mosque halted major social development in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, negatively affecting a progressing nation for generations to come,” said Rawan Radwan, the lead reporter on the project, who is based in Jeddah. “At Arab News, we delved deep into the matter to uncover the story of Juhayman, the terrorist who seized the holiest site and shook the Islamic world. It’s a story that for many years struck fear in the hearts of the Saudi people, yet has not been covered in such depth in local or international media — until now.”

Arab News launched its Deep Dive series earlier this year as an engaging new way to showcase its in-depth storytelling on key topics, enlivened by audio, video and animated graphics. Its first story was an in-depth account of the space mission by the first Arab astronaut, Saudi Prince Sultan bin Salman; the siege of Makkah is another story from the Kingdom’s past that it chose to revisit.

Extensive research was conducted over two months in several cities, including Makkah itself, and involved teams in five of Arab News’ bureaus: Jeddah, Riyadh, Dubai, London and Beirut. The team interviewed key players such as Prince Turki Al-Faisal, then head of the General Intelligence Directorate, and re-created what happened in a series of interactive maps.

 

Juhayman: 40 years on
On the anniversary of the 1979 attack on Makkah's Grand Mosque, Arab News tells the full story of an unthinkable event that shocked the Islamic world and cast a shadow over Saudi society for decades

Enter


keywords

 

 

 


NATO researchers: Social media failing to stop manipulation

Updated 8 min 35 sec ago

NATO researchers: Social media failing to stop manipulation

  • YouTube was the easiest site on which to create fake accounts but the best at countering artificial likes and video views
  • Manipulating Instagram is easy and cheap because the site is was largely unable to detect and stop it, while Twitter was best at detecting and removing manipulation

LONDON: Social media companies are failing to stop manipulated activity, according to a report Friday by NATO-affiliated researchers who said they were easily able to buy tens of thousands of likes, comments and views on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.
Most of the phony accounts and the activity they engaged in remained online weeks later, even after researchers at the NATO Strategic Command Center of Excellence flagged them up as fake.
The center, an independent group based in Latvia that advises the military alliance, said the findings contrast with statements from tech companies that say they’ve been working harder on stamping out manipulation.
“Overall social media companies are experiencing significant challenges in countering the malicious use of their platforms,” the report said.
Online manipulation emerged as a major issue for tech companies after the 2016 US election, when Russian influence efforts came to light. The researchers found that most fake social media activity is bought for commercial, not political, reasons. It can include Instagram influencers trying to pump up their profiles to make more money from their brand contracts.
Fake accounts are still used for political means, though it’s a minor slice of the industry and aimed at “non-western” pages, the researchers said, noting they were used to buy engagement on hundreds of political pages and dozens of government pages.
To carry out the study, the researchers turned to the “manipulation service provider” industry, which is expanding to feed the growing demand for phony clicks and likes. They used 16 companies, most based in Russia, to buy fake online engagement for 105 posts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. They spent just 300 euros ($330) to purchase 3,530 comments, 25,750 likes, 20,000 views and 5,100 followers.
To avoid influencing real conversations, they only bought clicks for posts that were at least six months old and carried neutral and non-political messages, such as “Hello!” and “Thank you!” on New Year’s greetings from European Union commissioners.
Four weeks later, 80% of the fake activity remained online, the researchers found, as they sought to gauge whether the sites were independently detecting misuse. They then reported 100 of the accounts as fake, but found about 95 remained active three weeks later.
Some companies were better than others, the report said.
YouTube was the easiest site on which to create fake accounts but the best at countering artificial likes and video views. Manipulating Instagram is easy and cheap because the site is was largely unable to detect and stop it, while Twitter was best at detecting and removing manipulation.
Facebook was best at stopping fake accounts, but any that got through were more successful because they faced little further scrutiny, and their comments and views weren’t removed. Facebook says it disabled 2.2 billion fake accounts in the first quarter of this year.
“Fake engagement tactics remain a challenge facing the entire industry,” Facebook, which also owns Instagram, said in a statement. “We’re making massive investments to find and remove fake accounts and engagement every day.”
YouTube owner Google said it takes any abuse of its systems seriously and has invested in technology to prevent the artificial inflation of video view counts.
“While no anti-spam system will ever be perfect, our teams work very hard to manage spam views to less than one percent of all views,” it said in a statement.
Twitter didn’t respond to requests for comment.