Dubai Press Club (DPC), in partnership with Facebook, organised the region’s first Facebook News Forum in Dubai. Image Credit: Supplied

DUBAI: The media industry is in the midst of a major transformation brought on by digital technologies, Maitha Buhumaid, Director of the Dubai Press Club, said in Dubai yesterday.

Addressing the region’s first Facebook News Forum jointly organised with Facebook, she said: “Being at the front lines of the future has always been part of the vision of Dubai’s leadership. As part of this vision, we also seek to be a magnet for talent from across the world. Today, Dubai offers one of the best environments and opportunities for media professionals to contribute their skills and capabilities to the industry.”

She said: “We believe partnerships with leading global players like Facebook are key to developing the capacities of our youth. Equally, we are keen to make sure our home-grown workforce is ready to take advantage of the opportunities that the future will bring.”

Fares Akkad

Fares Akkad, Director of Media Partnerships, Middle East and Africa at Facebook, said that the forum’s aim was to help participants learn new ways to engage with their audiences and embrace digital storytelling.

“Our goal was to help train more than 200 journalists, students and media professionals on visual storytelling, audience engagement and staying safe online,” he said, adding that the initiative was part of the Facebook Journalism Project.

Facebook officials also stressed the need to promote good journalism. Highlighting their efforts to build a global network of professional journalistic “fact checkers” to control the epidemic of misinformation, they reaffirmed the importance of community standards to help control the platform.

Facebook removes “more than a million fake accounts a day”, claimed Jesper Doub, Director of News Partnerships EMEA, with the platform. He urged media professionals to “stay true to your journalism” and not go down the path of clickbait.

Another interesting point of discussion was whether Artificial Intelligence (AI) will replace humans. “AI and animation will not replace people ... They’re an expression of the people who create them,” said Akkad.

Facebook officials also clarified their actions on how they deal with “troll farms” and local legislation in a particular country, which can be problematic when it comes to political events such as elections.

Doub said: “We were very slow to react in the Philippines ... Way too slow to understand what was happening there.”