A roundup of all the social media news from GCC in October

The three most discussed topics in October on social platforms were electronics, education and healthcare in that order, followed by entertainment, shopping malls and retail, and automotive.

The most important discussions on electronics last month were monopolized by Apple’s controversial decisions regarding the release of the iPhone 12.

Apple’s newest flagship device marks a return to the iconic form factor resembling the square sides prevalent in iPhone design from 2010 to 2014. Users have viewed the wider range of choices in this iPhone’s lineup favorably. year, as Apple released four different models: a mini model, a standard 12, a Pro version and a Pro Max with the largest screen ever seen on an iPhone.

However, aside from the attention to specs and high-end hardware, GCC users have taken issue with Apple’s supposedly eco-friendly decision not to include a wall charger with the latest iPhone. Many claimed that this was just a brazen move by Apple to soften its brand and that by cutting costs but not cutting prices, it put the onus of the decision on the customer.

Users also wonder about the effectiveness of such an approach for the benefit of the environment; many customers have complained that since the longevity of Apple chargers is minimal, they would have to buy a new charger anyway, whether or not they previously owned one.

Some users questioned the usefulness of including 5G in the iPhone 12 lineup. Claiming that the technology is not currently available to all GCC users, many dismissed Apple’s claims about speeds technological revolutionaries. In fact, a viral video has also circulated in the region mocking the many times “5G” was uttered in the iPhone 12 teaser video.

Educational discussions continued to revolve around the challenges and obstacles of running schools during a pandemic.

Despite the continued efforts of national GCC authorities, students and teachers are still struggling with the obstacles of online and hybrid education systems. From burnout and screen fatigue to contagion risk and social anxiety, the pandemic has not only aggravated existing mental health issues, but also added new challenges to address.

Individual countries also face their own obstacles. Users in Saudi Arabia, for example, started a hashtag suggesting education authorities allow remote testing for students with special needs. Omani users expect a hybrid school system to finally roll out in November.

Meanwhile, health conversations remained focused on the latest developments in the fight against Covid-19 in the Gulf.

At the forefront of vaccine development, the United Arab Emirates announced the successful completion of Phase III of China’s Covid-19 vaccine in partnership with Sinopharm’s China National Biotec Group.

Additionally, users have expressed gratitude and praise to health authorities after the UAE also partnered with the Gamaleya Research Institute in Moscow for the trials of Russia’s Covid-19 vaccine. The United Arab Emirates will be the proving ground for Phase III of the ‘Sputnik V’ trials, and there seems to be a lot of support, based on public opinion.

As winter sets in, users across the Gulf have expressed concern that colder temperatures typically herald the onset of flu season, which, combined with the pandemic, could exacerbate the difficult conditions already present for public health.

Moving on to other discussions, France was at the center of the intersection between malls, retail and politics in October following President Macron’s comments following the terrorist attack in the French city from Nice.

Throughout the Gulf, citizens and residents have called for a boycott of French products and companies. A large number of users showed their commitment against French products – from brands like Cartier and Dior to Renault and Tefal – through viral hashtags as well as influencer actions. Supermarkets also joined the initiative, as many users showed empty shelves after French products were withdrawn.

Methodology:
Netizency conducted a social listen on all GCC social and online media between October 1 and October 31, 2020 to gather information on popular trends.

Latest updates from social media platforms include:

LinkedIn:

– Overhauls its community policies with new security features
– Upgrades event functionality, including personalized recommendations and event registration lists

Twitter:

– Updates audio tweet functionality, including future inclusion of automatic subtitles
– Tests ‘Birdwatch’, a new crowdsourcing strategy to fight misinformation
– Considering a new “Suggested Follows” section to improve content discovery on the platform
– Set quote tweets as the default retweet option to encourage users to read before sharing
– Improved Reels audio tools to share, search and save Reels sounds
– Adds a new misinformation warning if a user retweets a tweet flagged as misinformation

Facebook:

– Integrate Messenger with Instagram to stay connected with FB Messenger and IG friends on the same app
– Launches Account Center to manage logins and purchases on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger in one place
– Launches “Emotional Health Resource Center” to support people struggling with mental health issues
– Announces ban on political ads after US election to avoid potential conflicts of legitimacy
– Cracks down on offensive and dangerous content, including removing all Holocaust denialist content as well as banning anti-vax ads
– Improves automated language translation tools with AR to no longer depend on English translations
– Improved discovery tools for FB Watch with new topics and highlights
– Brings back Spark AR Partner Network to deliver AR solutions to businesses
– Introduced “Neighbors” features allowing users to connect to their local events and communities

Instagram:

– Tests new tools to limit offensive comments to combat cyberbullying
– Celebrates 10 years by dropping new visual features and e-commerce tool for IGTV
– Updates its Threads app with automatic status updates and full messaging functionality
– Strengthen rules for influencers to ensure all business partnerships are disclosed appropriately
– Improves age tool to set age filters for corporate posts across geo-regs
– Deploys new IG Live badges for donations directly to creators
– Allows the creation of organic product tag ads from scratch

Youtube:

– Improved AI-powered features to reduce story background noise
– Experiments with product labels to revise e-commerce capabilities
– Updates its creator verification process by submitting a new form to request a verification badge
– Cracks down on conspiracy theories by banning all QAnon-related content
– Test the “Shorts” shortcut while continuing to test TikTok-like functionality

Google:

– Brings free SMB tools to MENA region to use free listings available on Google Shopping
– Rolls out a new trending tool to help advertisers stay up to date with the latest search trends in their niche
– Redefines the alerts that appear when a critical issue is detected with Google Accounts
– Adds the ability to hum to search for a song and other text recognition features to search

Snapchat:

– Deploys ‘Sounds’, allowing licensed music clips to be added to snaps
– Adds AR tools for the new iPhone 12 LiDAR depth sensor to make AR experiences more immersive
– Launches “City Painter” in London’s Carnaby Street, Snapchat’s first “Local Lens” collaborative AR experience
– Deploys barcode scanning functionality for nutritional content and wine reviews

TIC Tac:

– Adds new layouts for Duet to interact with content from other creators
– Announces new partnership with OpenSlate to improve brand security
– Expands ban on QAnon-related content, including related hashtags
– Improved notification transparency to notify users of specific rules broken if one of their videos is taken down

WhatsApp :

– Revises business features, including product catalogs, payment tools, etc.

Zoom:

– Introduces “OnZoom” paid event platform to plan, host and manage payments for immersive experiences