On demand video service Facebook Watch, which was rolled out globally last week, will follow the social platform’s strategy to ensure users practice “responsible” consumption, according to the head of media partnerships for Facebook and Instagram in MEA, Turkey & Pakistan.
Speaking to Arabian Business, Fares Akkad said the steaming service, which offers users the chance to watch shows and videos by creators, celebrities and production houses, will boast management tools introduced by Facebook and Instagram in August to help users limit their time spent on social media.
“Facebook Watch allows you the flexibility to watch as much or as little of it as you want, providing you with tools to make it more convenient to make these responsible decisions. We provide tools for people to better watch their consumption and make more educated consumption choices,” said Akkad.
The tools include ways to limit notifications and a dashboard that keeps track of time spent on Facebook. The social media platform said at the time of the launch that it hopes the new measures will “foster conversations between parents and teens about the online habits that are right for them.”
The changes came as the company faces increasing accusations that it encourages addiction to its platform, prompting founder Mark Zuckerberg to say that the company “is focused on making sure Facebook isn’t just fun to use, but also good for people’s well-being and for society.”
According to statistics from Global Media Insight, the UAE has one of the highest rates of social media penetration in the world, with 9.38 of the country’s 9.45 million people being active social media users – 99.26 percent.
However, applying the management tools on Facebook Watch are part of the platform’s general shift towards responsibility ownership, said Akkad.
“Now, we can react and stay above the safety of our viewers,” he said.
Facebook launched Watch amid a shift in video viewing habits away from traditional television to online platforms including Netflix and regional start up StarzPlay, with more people watching both professional and user content on services like YouTube.
The feature will possibly include longer content such as films, though Akkad claims it will not compete with streaming platforms such as Netflix, adding that the service follows a different model to that of OTT platforms.
In June, following criticism over the addictive nature of its devices, Apple Inc. also revealed plans to introduce software to help people control their iPhone consumption. Apple engineers have been working on the initiative called Digital Health to help users monitor how much time they spend on their devices.
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