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How Social Media Platform Can Connect People Worldwide in a Post-Pandemic Era?

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It has been an extremely difficult year for everyone, especially with countries going into lockdown and people being forced to stay away from their friends and families for health and safety reasons. Social and physical distancing regulations have made people crave and miss the communities they are part of. However, content creators on social media, short video, and live streaming platforms have been helping people feel as though they are part of an extremely large online community that transcends international borders.

Singapore-based BIGO Technology (BIGO) is one of the fastest-growing internet technology companies in the world. Powered by Artificial Intelligence, BIGO’s video-based products and services – such as livestreaming platform Bigo Live and short-form video platform Likee – have gained immense popularity and have been at the forefront of connectivity by bringing together users, employees and online communities across the world.

In honor of those who have supported thousands of people around the world, and made them feel happier during hard times, BIGO has announced its upcoming celebration of its creators and users at their annual Awards Gala Ceremony that will be taking place virtually at 8pm (GTM+8) on 21st January 2021, on their Music Livehouse channel (Bigo ID: music).

“BIGO has done it once again and is all set to bring its global online communities together, as they host their annual Gala Awards ceremony virtually in January 2021,” said a spokesperson from BIGO. “BIGO connects its users on a personal level, and users have been able to form lifelong, enduring connections with people across the world, especially now as they have been forced to forego physical and social interaction with their loved ones.”

Although this particular event is more of a celebration to honor its users, BIGO has also always made it a point to do its part to continue to develop its platforms and allow people to showcase and communicate their skills and talents. One such initiative is the BIGOFUN Epsorts tournament that was launched in the MENA region in October 2020. The aim of this tournament is to provide local Esports professionals and enthusiasts with an opportunity to experience an enjoyable and competitive environment via livestreaming.

“There has been a significant increase in the popularity of gaming and Esports activities on our platform. Esports stars are rising from here, showcasing their talents and skills to a broad audience through livestreaming and real-time interactions. We are committed to providing our users and broadcasters with the most enriching experience which is why we have and will continue to invest in Esports activities. We look forward to welcoming gamers from all walks of life in the months to come” said the spokesperson from BIGO.

In addition to creating platforms that allow users to shine, BIGO is also committed to giving back to society. The company has previously hosted several events and initiated campaigns that bring people together in order to raise awareness for various social causes and cultures as well.

One such campaign hosted by BIGO that have helped communities within the MENA region was in-app awareness and education on COVID-19 and the proper safety measures and restrictions to keep users and their loved ones safe and healthy. As well, following the Global Pandemic, BIGO took the initiative to donate over 5,000 masks and 25,000 medical surgical masks to Jordan in a stance to support the country, and combat the pandemic with them. Ultimately, BIGO’s aim is not only to provide a platform for creators to showcase their talents, but also offer users a global support system.

As well as part of their ‘Global BIGOer One World Together’ campaign, BIGO raised a total of $100,000 in donations for goodwill. The amount raised was donated to the World Health Organization’s Solidarity Response Fund, as part of global efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. The event itself included BIGO Live’s music livehouse, where close to 100 broadcasters performed, and had over 3.7 million viewers in attendance.

Alongside these humanitarian efforts, BIGO continues to be a platform that allows users to combat their personal challenges and create connections, including boosting small businesses, or nurturing personal relationships over livestreaming.

“BIGO has brought about so many positive changes in my life,” said Sultan Khalid, a Bigo Live Broadcaster from the GCC region, who won the top regional broadcaster this year. “I have taken my passion for content creation, and am pursuing it as a full-time occupation thanks to BIGO Live. The opportunities I received from creating content on Bigo Live allowed me to connect with so many users from all over the world. I usually do daily livestreams, and at times have up to 15,000 followers tuning in to watch me and talk to me. I am so thankful that BIGO exists, because it truly brings people together. “

Who says you can’t be a part of something meaningful and fun, just because you can’t physically be present? If you wish to be a part of, or even just watch BIGO’s upcoming annual Awards Gala, you can tune in directly via the Bigo Live app which can be downloaded at https://bigolive.onelink.me/sG8X/bigoliveth

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App Launched to Provide Virtual Support Services for Survivors of Domestic Violence Across the Middle East

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Shamsaha, a women’s focused non-profit organization, has launched a mobile application that will make crisis advocacy services available to women across the Middle East region for the very first time. Shamsaha focuses on women’s empowerment and protection programs, including providing 24/7 free and confidential support services in English and Arabic for survivors of domestic violence.

The new mobile app will ensure that these services will be available to women across the region by connecting them directly with Shamsaha’s trained and certified volunteers based in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Through the app, women will be able to receive emotional and informational support along with referral programs for legal and therapy services. The app will also provide resources and survivor support tools, along with information about Shamsaha’s fundraising activities and trainings.

The mobile application will also act as the driver of Shamsaha’s regional expansion project, which aims to export its unique crisis advocacy program across the Arabian Gulf region. The first phase of the expansion project has commenced with the launch of virtual support services via the mobile app. This will be followed by the second phase, which is to establish in-person support services in collaboration with partners in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Oman.

Shamsaha’s expansion project and the development of its mobile application is being funded by the L’Oréal Fund for Women, which was launched by the L’Oréal Groupe in 2020 to support and empower highly vulnerable women around the world. On the occasion, Shamsaha founder and executive director Mary-Justine Todd said, “We are extremely excited to begin this new chapter in Shamsaha’s growth. When I first founded Shamsaha as a non-profit in Bahrain, I hoped to support as many survivors of abuse as possible and now our certified and culturally sensitive support services will be available for women across the Middle East.”

Shamsaha’s mobile application was also developed with support from the US Embassy in Bahrain and the British Embassy in Bahrain. Shamsaha advisory president Munira Al Shaikh added, “A great deal of hard work, commitment and support has gone into developing our mobile application. We want to thank everyone who dedicated their efforts to making this launch a success, including our most valued partners. We would also like to extend our gratitude to the community in Bahrain and the wider Arabian Gulf for welcoming this unique program and for furthering women’s empowerment and protection activities.”

The launch of the mobile application is in line with Shamsaha’s commitment towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically SDG 5 (Gender Equality) and its target to eliminate all forms of violence against women. Global statistics show that in 1 in 3 women will face some form of violence in their lifetime. This makes Shamsaha’s support services for women, via its new mobile application, essential because Shamsaha operates a number of prevention and response programs in the Middle East region.

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AppGallery Onboards 7Nights

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AppGallery has successfully onboarded 7Nights, as part of Huawei Mobile Services’ (HMS) efforts to foster homegrown lifestyle applications. The partnership grants AppGallery users access to a growing online community to explore the latest lifestyle offerings. This collaboration with 7Nights will add to the growing repertoire of lifestyle-based applications for AppGallery users in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region.

Lu Geng, Vice President of the Middle East and Africa, Huawei Global Partnerships & Eco-Development, said: “At Huawei, introducing new applications for multiple verticals and customer touch points always lays at the forefront of our business strategy. Through our ongoing partnerships, we aim to diversify AppGallery’s portfolio by including a variety of local and regional apps that empower and enhance users’ everyday life.”

Commenting on the partnership, Joseph Khoury, CEO of 7Nights said: “We are pleased to be partnering with Huawei, and we certainly believe that this collaboration will leverage our reach among the audience in the Middle East via the official AppGallery platform. Our app users have shown great affinity to the Huawei ecosystem of products, and we believe this partnership will bolster our product offerings, helping us reach new consumer markets. 7Nights application will transform users’ social lives with incredible dining offers, ladies’ nights, gents’ events and exclusive discounts.’’

AppGallery is a platform that grants users access to apps across many categories, including games, content, and services. The marketplace has over 580 million monthly users and is available in more than 170 countries, and has over 5.4 million registered developers worldwide.

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TikTok to Launch New Screentime Management Tool

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In the coming weeks, TikTok will launch two new practical tools as a part of its digital wellbeing mission to make it easier for its growing community of users to manage the time they spend on the entertainment platform in a single sitting and enable regular screen time breaks, thereby remaining in full control of their TikTok experience.

According to Global Media Insight, the average daily time spent on the internet in the UAE is 7 hours and 24 minutes per person, which is why a new screen time dashboard will give TikTok’s creative community data about how much time they are spending on the platform, with summaries on the daily time they’re spending using the platform, the number of times they opened the app, and a breakdown of daytime and night-time usage available at all times. Users can also opt for weekly notifications to review their dashboard and monitor the time spent in a single sitting.

These prompts will remind TikTok users to take a break after a certain amount of uninterrupted screen time, which they can set as per their choice and convenience. TikTok will also introduce weekly digital well-being prompts for younger members of the community. When users aged between 13 and 17 spends more than 100 minutes on the app in a single day, he or she will get a reminder from TikTok of using the screen time limit tool the next time they open the app.

The new features are in line with TikTok’s goal to promote a safe and positive experience for all its users and ensure that the entertainment platform is equipped to offer the best possible viewing choices for the TikTok community. The entertainment platform is focused on delivering digital experiences that bring joy, entertainment, and enrichment to our community. Part of this includes ensuring that the community have a positive relationship with their devices and allowing them to be more in control of their experiences. This is why TikTok is taking a number of steps today to help support our community’s digital well being as they create, including the new screen time management feature that allows users restrict the uninterrupted time that can be spent on the app.

TikTok is supporting the rollout of the new screen time management tools and encouraging its community in thinking about their digital habits by publishing a new guide, titled “How can I reflect on my digital well-being with my family and friends?” on the platform’s Safety Centre. The guide encourages the TikTok community to reflect more holistically about how they spend their time online – whether on TikTok or elsewhere – and how it makes them feel as they set the boundaries that best suit them.

The tools are part of TikTok’s continuous efforts to nurture its growing diverse global community and develop new tools and initiatives that support an environment where its users can create a customised experience, express themselves and have joy. Commenting on the well-being updates, Dr. Hamed AlNeyadi, the Director Executive Government Relations of IAT/ACTVET and member of TikTok MENA Safety Advisory Council, said “It’s essential that TikTok provides tools to control our time on the platform, this will increase the productivity time for the user and improve their physical and mental health. By providing options for parents to manage and control screentime for their children on TikTok, it helps to promote healthy use and proactively assists the user to maintain a healthy lifestyle.”

Sharing her insights on parenting and online activity, Dr. Lamar Kanafani, MA LMFT Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and Supervisor said, “It’s already widely known what the negative mental and physical effects are of screen-time-overuse. So, in my eyes, the first step to helping your kids find the right balance is to get yourselves better disciplined with screen time as well, model it, and put in the initial and ongoing effort to engage physically with your kids. The quality of your relationship with them is key.

Launching within the coming weeks, the new features will be found in the Privacy and Settings, under the section Digital Wellbeing.

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