Regional e-commerce giant Souq.com is facing backlash from consumers on social media as many continue to call for a boycott on the Dubai-based business and its parent company Amazon.com, due to Amazon’s ownership by US billionaire Jeff Bezos.
The movement began last week as The Washington Post, also owned by Bezos, published an op-ed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan calling for further investigation into the murder of Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. An opinion piece published in the paper today went further, calling for all business ties with the kingdom to be cut.
After a social media campaign, the "Boycott Amazon" was the top trending hashtag on Twitter in Saudi Arabia for several hours on Sunday, as users circulated images showing the deletion of the Amazon smartphone app. And the criticism of Souq has now widened to its service and pricing.
“Fake items already rampant,” claimed one user on Facebook, without another adding: “Problem is their delivery time I don’t know what time they will deliver….read the item before you buy and be smart in buying.”
One user also claimed “They say it’s mega sale but when you check the price it’s still the same. Souq.com before was so good, now that Amazon owns it it’s all about the money.”
Some users have also urged customer to switch to e-commerce giant Noon, which is part-owned by the Saudi PIF fund.
“Noon.com… Hello. Wake up expand to Saudi capture that market of switchers,” one user said, while another declared they are deactivating their Souq account.
“Ma’asalama Souq.com… it’s time to end my relationship with you and I’m going to delete my Souq.com application from my mobile,” the user said.
Another wrote, “I sympathise with Saudis in boycotting both Amazon-Souq.com.”
The Washington Post has been vigorous in its coverage of the kingdom in the aftermath of Khashoggi’s murder at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul, publishing gruesome details and leading many Saudi citizens to feel that their country is under attack.
“It became clear before our eyes that this is an organized media war," said Bandar Otyf, a Saudi journalist with more than 100,000 Twitter followers who was among those calling for the boycott. “As Twitter users and activists and citizens, we don’t have power abroad, but we have simple things like boycotting."
Souq.com did not respond to a request for a comment on the claims on social media.For all the latest retail news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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