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Maitha Buhumaid, Director of Dubai Press Club Image Credit:

  • Dubai Press Club hosts Facebook Journalism Project event 
  • Journalists discuss the changing media landscape in the UAE

Dubai: Dubai Press Club hosted journalists and publishers from the UAE for its first Facebook News Forum in partnership with the social media channel as part of their bigger Facebook Journalism Project.

It was hosted at Concrete in Al Serkal Avenue from 11.30am.

It was an interesting exercise to bridge the gap between what journalists and publishers in the country are trying to achieve and how Facebook can work with them to help in that delivery process.

Maitha Buhumaid, Director of Dubai Press Club said that the meet-up is part of the changing media landscape in the UAE and an exercise to help local journalists learn and grow.

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The key issues covered included business relationships, monetization, and revenue build, along with integrity in journalism, fake news, the Facebook algorithm and what the platform’s 2+ billion users want to actually see on their news feed.

Facebook talked about the importance of “surfacing quality journalism” to help push more good journalism and prevent “misinformation, and causes real harm in the world”.

They are working with the US-based Poynter Institute to build a global network of professional journalistic “fact checkers” to control the epidemic of misinformation on the platform. This comes up for users as a pop-up alert. Additionally they re-affirmed the importance that their “community standards” help control platform. Facebook apparently removes “more than a million fake accounts a day”, according to 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 AI or Artificial Intelligence will replace humans. Fares Akkad, Facebook Director Media Partnerships Middle East, Africa, Turkey, responded: “AI and animation will not replace people... They’re an expression of the people who create them.”

They also defended and clarified their actions in how they deal with the problem of “troll farms” and local legislation in a particular country, which is a problem 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.” He was focusing on how Facebook was misused in the Asian country.