Snapchat has just launched its new Spotlight feature in the Middle East and North Africa, enabling the local audience of approximately 75 million users to discover trending Snaps from the entire Snapchat community in one convenient place.
The Spotlight feature is Snapchat’s answer to TikTok’s success. While originally created to imitate the spontaneous, intimate feeling of real-world conversations, Snapchat has been continually innovating its platform and moving away from the original concept.
“Spotlight is an exciting new addition, a result of careful thought and insight into what our community wants, likes, and values. It is also built with our privacy-by-design philosophy, with the wellbeing of our community front and center,” said Hussein Freijeh, the general manager of Snap Inc. in the Middle East.
When sharing a video from their private accounts to the more public feed, Snapchat users in all regions where Spotlight is available can choose to send the video to the Spotlight feed and do so anonymously if they want to.
What’s great is that those who decide not to reveal their profile information to the public can still earn money based on how many views their content gets.
“Our hope is that Spotlight continues to break down barriers to content creation and by democratizing both distribution and the ability to earn, encourages Snapchatters to be creative and express themselves,” Freijeh added.
To achieve its goal, Snapchat is both automatically and manually moderating all Snaps that get submitted to Spotlight and tagging them based on their content. Each tag is then subdivided into multiple levels based on their views. A Snap featuring a dancing dog that has been viewed by, let’s say, 1,000 people then competes with other funny dog videos with a similar view count.
This simple yet effective mechanic prevents influencers and other people with a massive online following from stealing the spotlight (pun intended).
Currently, Spotlight is available in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, the UAE, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Palestinian Territory, Libya, and Iraq.
Matchmaking App Hawaya Lets Users Connect Based On Lifestyle Choices
Hawaya currently operates in 12 new countries, including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE, France, Germany, UK, Malaysia, Indonesia, the United States, and Canada.
Finding love is not easy, especially for singles in the Middle East, where conservative cultural norms don’t approve of any but the most traditional forms of matchmaking, which don’t seem all that appealing to many members of younger generations. But it’s not like young men and women in the Middle East are without modern options when it comes to finding the partner of their dreams. Hawaya, a Cairo-born matchmaking app, has recently celebrated 4 million users, and it’s now rolling out a feature that has the potential to expand its userbase even further: the ability to connect based on lifestyle choices with people from other regions.
Hawaya currently operates in 12 new countries, including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, UAE, France, Germany, UK, Malaysia, Indonesia, the United States of America, and Canada. So far, it has resulted in 18,000 commitments, with 5,000 in Egypt alone.
“We’re seeing singles all over the region, women in particular, trusting in Hawaya to find their life partner more than ever before, which displays greater social acceptance for mobile matchmaking as an empowering tool for women to find their ideal life partner,” said Shaymaa Ali, Hawaya’s co-founder and Marketing Manager in the MENA region.
The new “Lifestyle Preferences” feature allows users to find their other half based on shared interests, likes, and dislikes. Users can now specify the geographic area they would like to explore, instead of always receiving matches that are located as close to them as possible.
“Through innovation, tech, and cultural respect, Hawaya prides itself to be a progressive app that aims to destigmatize the taboo of online matchmaking, and empowering women to take their time and spark a real connection with the love of their lives,” added Sameh Saleh, Hawaya’s founder and CEO.
Since the 2017 launch of Hawaya, social acceptance of online matchmaking in the MENA region has seen a measurable improvement, but there’s still a long way to go before all users of matchmaking apps like Hawaya won’t feel the need to hide their identities.