Abu Dhabi Media Summit 2014: Social media in the Middle East

Panelists discuss the transformative role of social media in the Middle East

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A panel of leading media experts discussed Tuesday at this year’s Abu Dhabi Media Summit the role social media is playing in the 21st century Middle East and its potential for transformative change.

Al Arabiya News’ Editor-in-Chief Faisal J. Abbas, Facebook Vice President of Public Policy in Europe, Middle East and Africa Richard Allan, Path Arabia CEO Ayman Safadi and journalist Ahmed Shihab-Eldin were panelists in the CNN Segment of the Abu Dhabi Media Summit 2014.

The segment, moderated by CNN anchor Becky Anderson, touched on the use of social media by all types of groups in the Middle East, grassroots activists and extremist groups alike, and whether these digital platforms should be regulated.

The participants highlighted the differences between traditional mediums such as newspapers and broadcasting companies, the ethical standards that these abided by, and the growing use of popular social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Each of the panelists also put forward their arguments for and against regulating social media, while noting both the boons and drawbacks of a medium that is open to abuse by extremist groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

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