Snap Inc publishes a new survey that reveals how people in the UAE are staying informed about the COVID-19 outbreak, and what they are doing to stay in touch with family and friends during this tense period. Communciate got insights from Hussein Freijeh, General Manager of Snap Inc on the results of the survey.
“During this time of social distancing, it’s perhaps no surprise that many of us are now spending more time online—whether that’s for work, school, or entertainment,” says Freijeh. “In the UAE specifically, our latest survey found that 41% of Snapchatters are using the app more to stay in touch with friends and family since the outbreak of COVID-19.”
More than 87% of Snapchatters in the UAE feel better prepared to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 than they did a month ago. At the same time, people do appear mindful of avoiding misinformation about COVID-19. “Snapchatters in the UAE certainly come to the platform to find great content from publishers in the region and internationally. When it comes to news specifically, one of the things that makes Snapchat unique is that—by design—we do not have an open news feed where unvetted publishers or individuals have an opportunity to broadcast misinformation,” says Freijeh. The Snapchat user survey shows that 54% of UAE public are turning to official government sources for information on the outbreak, more so than TV news sources (26%) or even family and friends (25%). According to Freijeh, the platform is currently working with the most trusted news organizations in the region and the World Health Organization (WHO) to publish regular updates about COVID-19 on Snapchat, answer community questions and curate stories around subjects such as working from home, staying fit, etc.
In addition to keeping well informed, many Snapchatters appear to be using the time spent at home for personal growth. More than half (61%) say they are looking after themselves through self-care activities, while 43% are taking online classes, 42% are working on physical fitness, and 41% are looking to learn a new skill. Moreover, people are finding ways to maintain their mental wellbeing even with the disruption of COVID-19. “In our latest survey of UAE Snapchatters, we also see that staying connected with friends and family is really quite valued on the platform. When asked what is helping them the most to keep calm during this time of disruption, more than half (57 percent) cite staying connected with family and friends, whether that is talking about the impact of COVID-19 or other areas of shared interest,” says Freijeh.
In recent weeks, Snapchat has rolled out new features and content to help communities in the UAE deal with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Freijeh, “We have introduced new experiences that give Snapchatters more easily-digestible information on how to stay safe by using augmented reality and other creative means. New Lenses and other features on Snapchat make it easy for users to share reliable information about COVID-19 and to donate to relief efforts, all while still having fun connecting with their friends and co-workers even when they’re far apart.”