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.


Pakistan lifts TikTok ban after pledge on ‘indecent’ content

Updated 19 October 2020

Pakistan lifts TikTok ban after pledge on ‘indecent’ content

  • TikTok said it in a statement it had committed to enforcing ‘community guidelines and complying with local laws’
  • Neighboring India has already banned the app, along with dozens of other Chinese mobile platforms

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said Monday it would lift a recent ban on the video-sharing app TikTok after assurances that “immoral” content would be blocked.
The Chinese-owned platform, which is wildly popular among the country’s youth, was banned earlier this month over what authorities in the ultra-conservative Islamic country deemed “immoral, obscene and vulgar” content.
But the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) said Monday said it had received assurances from TikTok that the company will “block all accounts repeatedly involved in spreading obscenity and immorality.”
It warned, however, that it would be banned permanently if it failed to moderate posts.
TikTok said it in a statement it had committed to enforcing “community guidelines and complying with local laws” but did not comment on what morality or decency standards it had agreed to.
Arslan Khalid, a digital media adviser to Prime Minister Imran Khan, previously tweeted that the “exploitation, objectification & sexualization” of young girls on TikTok was causing pain to parents.
But freedom of speech advocates have long criticized the creeping government censorship and control of Pakistan’s Internet and printed and electronic media.
Owned by China’s ByteDance, TikTok has also faced increasing controversy over how it collects and uses data although it has repeatedly denied sharing user information with Chinese authorities.
Officials in the United States have accused it of being a national security risk and President Donald Trump has said he wants it taken out of Chinese hands.
In Pakistan — a close ally of China — no privacy concerns have been raised.
Neighboring India has already banned the app, along with dozens of other Chinese mobile platforms.