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Facebook opens up to Middle East offering an interface in Arabic on its iPhone app

The digital platform has finally updated its application for iPhone to offer an interface adapted to its Arabic-speaking users, who are particularly numerous in the MENA region. This announcement highlights GAFA’s desire to catch up with their absence in the promising area, and making their platforms available in Arabic is already a big step forward.

The Middle East and North Africa region counts no less than 169 million monthly users on Facebook, mostly Arabic-speaking. This population will finally be able to use the iPhone application in their native language. Already available on Android, Facebook has just updated its application on Apple devices thanks to a close collaboration with veteran translators from the region.

Expanding the business prospects of Apple

In addition to expanding the business prospects of Apple, its neighbour from the Silicon Valley, Facebook provides a tangible example of its commitment to the MENA region. Laurent Solly, vice president of Facebook for Southern Europe met at the Viva Technology Show, has been interviewed about discussions with Saudi representatives, startups and officials, on the occasion of the event: “It was a very rewarding discussion. First, to understand what the Saudi Arabia’s strategy on the digital and technological revolution we are experiencing is. “. It shows therefore that the group is aware of the dynamics of the country and the region: “[The] country has a young population, which is therefore digital native. Many companies are starting, many start-ups, a lot of connected people, young women who launch a lot of initiatives, who use Instagram a lot…”.

“Facebook, Instagram but also WhatsApp are widely used in Saudi Arabia. We know the country well, we see the changes, we see this will, there are great ambitions, “he said.

Laurent Solly, vice-president at Facebook office for Southern Europe, interviewed on Viva Technology

Laurent Solly, vice-president at Facebook office for Southern Europe, interviewed on Viva Technology

Considering this assessment, Facebook is now ready to act. Thus, the “very friendly” and “very constructive discussions” led with Saudi Arabia on Viva Tech aimed to see “how Facebook can help even more, what the points of agreement are(…) to train, to educate on the content, the use of platforms, technologies that are arriving, artificial intelligence … “, Laurent Solly declared.

The MENA region remains one of the only areas in the world where social networking giants still have opportunities to develop and grow their businesses. Working in Arabic is already a huge step forward and opens up an extraordinary pool of users, which have not yet been exploited. It may be too late for these giants who are just beginning to grasp the issue as many regional initiatives have begun to emerge. And they have taken the lead to offer similar services but in Arabic, they break through and may well appear as major competitors.

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Published on 20 June 2018