Charlie Hebdo magazine issue mocking Iran's supreme leader … – Arab News

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LONDON: French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on Wednesday published a special issue mocking Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in support of anti-government protests in Iran.
The weekly released the edition titled “January 7” to commemorate the anniversary of the deadly 2015 terror attack on its Paris offices, with the subject “beat the mullahs.”
“The freedom to which every human being aspires is incompatible with the archaism of religious thought and with submission to every supposedly spiritual authority, of which Ali Khamenei is the most deplorable example,” the magazine said.
Following months of protests and repression throughout Iran following the death in custody of Mahsa Amini — a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman arrested by the morality police for violating the country’s dress code — the French publication launched an international contest on Dec. 8 under the title, Mullahs Get Out.
Contestants were asked to produce caricatures of Khamenei, as a “symbol of backward-looking, narrow-minded, intolerant religious power” and advised that the cartoon should be the “funniest and meanest” possible.
#MullahsGetOut COMPETITION |Charlie Hebdo is launching a competition to produce caricatures of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Supreme Leader. So get drawing and make sure that Khamenei is the last Supreme Leader the Iranians have to suffer! More info https://t.co/q3xqVPIZi8 pic.twitter.com/DhbLVG2drG
— Charlie Hebdo (@Charlie_Hebdo_) December 9, 2022
“Cartoonists and caricaturists have a duty to help support Iranians in their struggle as they fight for their freedom, by ridiculing this religious leader who represents the past and casting him into history’s garbage bin,” Charlie Hebdo said on its website page.
French newspaper Le Monde on Tuesday published a story with one of the cartoons, noting that the paper was allowed to see 35 drawings chosen from the 300 sent to the Charlie Hebdo editorial office, including from Iran, Turkiye, the US, Senegal, and Australia.
Charlie Hebdo director, Laurent “Riss” Sourisseau, said the Iranian protest movement was of global significance, and the magazine had “wanted drawings from all over the world and to not lock ourselves into French-centric thinking” to reflect “the visual diversity of the opposition.”
Describing some of the works, Le Monde said: “One cartoon shows Khamenei being punched with the slogan ‘Women, Life, Freedom,’ while another depicts a mullah being crushed under a heel.
#MullahsGetOut #Mahsa_Amini pic.twitter.com/NUmVFeKFYz
— دشمن آخوند و آخوند پرست (@margbarakhonda) December 29, 2022
“Among the very political drawings, the supreme leader is also depicted as (the late American actress) Marilyn Monroe, whose dress is lifted by the wind of the headscarves that women have freed themselves from. In another, armed with stones, they pommel him,” it added.
Iranian authorities, angered at news of the publication, warned France on Wednesday to expect a response for the “insulting” cartoons depicting Iran’s political leader.
In a tweet, Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said: “The insulting and indecent act of a French publication in publishing cartoons against the religious and political authority will not go without an effective and decisive response.
“We will not allow the French government to go beyond its bounds. They have definitely chosen the wrong path.”
کاریکاتور‌های منتخب مسابقه مجله شارلی ابدو رو می‌تونیم توی لینک زیر ببینید: https://t.co/WrmV83VS39#MullahsGetOut pic.twitter.com/YqV3ZUwx3m
— farnaz davari (@farnazdavari) January 4, 2023
Since the beginning of the current wave of protests in mid-September, Charlie Hebdo has targeted Khamenei on different occasions, in one cartoon depicting him with bloody hands and a turban and attire showing the logo of clothing manufacturer Nike and its motto, Just Do It.
The cartoon was met with outrage by Iranian authorities prompting the country’s Foreign Ministry to summon the French charge d’affaires in Tehran.
Over the years Charlie Hebdo has been at the center of numerous controversies over its cartoons and was the target of terrorist attacks in 2011, 2015 (when 12 people were killed), and 2020, all believed to be linked to the magazine’s publication of images depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
DUBAI: With more than 100,000 influencers active on TikTok globally in 2020, according to Statista, the short-form video app has increasingly positioned itself as a potentially lucrative social media platform for content creators.
Creators often describe the app’s editing capabilities and binge-worthy content style as especially appealing, luring them away from other popular platforms such as Instagram and Facebook.
Along with this shift in platforms, there has also been a move away from the use of the word “influencer,” to be replaced by “creator.” The former conjures up images of lavish holidays, luxury fashion and a type of aspirational lifestyle that can leave followers feeling inadequate about their own lives.
“The term ‘influencer’ has become outdated, with many social media stars preferring ‘creator,’” Harry Hugo, the co-founder of The Goat Agency told The Drum. “Why? Top creators aren’t just posting aesthetic content; they do so much more.”
In other words, for a creator to be successful it is imperative that they post authentic and helpful content and do not simply aim to “influence” an audience.
Xzit Thamer, a creator in Saudi Arabia, focuses on gaming and mostly posts content related to Grand Theft Auto. He quit his day job in 2020 to focus on creating content for TikTok.
“I never knew back then I would reach 7 million followers and be one of the top gaming content creators in the Middle East,” he told Arab News.
TikTok is certainly having its moment in the sun but this is more than just a passing fad, experts believe. The platform’s popularity appears to be sustainable, according to Natasha Hatherall-Shawe, founder and CEO of marketing agency TishTash.
“The simplicity of TikTok’s mission,” which is to capture the attention of audiences with short videos, has “superseded other platforms” such as Meta’s Facebook and Instagram, which are now trying to play catch-up by introducing features such as Reels, she told Arab News.
According to Thamer, who has been creating content for nine years: “TikTok is the best platform for content creators.”
With top creators capable of building such large audiences, TikTok understandably invests in them through programs such as the Creator Fund, which directly rewards selected creators. In the Middle East and North Africa region, the platform also launched its Creator Hub program in the UAE and Egypt in September 2022 to help identify talented creators and connect them with mentors and experts who can support their development and nurture their skills.
But several high-profile creators have criticized TikTok over its Creator Fund. One of the main complaints is that the pool of available money has remained much the same even while the number of creators continued to increase.
Popular creator Hank Green, who has more than 7 million followers on TikTok, called out the platform in a video uploaded to YouTube. In it, he acknowledged that TikTok is “tremendously powerful” and “extremely well designed” but accused it of “dramatically underpaying creators.”
TikTok isn’t the first or the only platform to offer direct financial rewards to certain creators. Several social media platforms, including YouTube and Instagram, offer special initiatives for creators but some experts say this is not always a good thing and question their value.
“YouTube is notoriously stingy with the revenue it shares with creators and TikTok is not much different,” said Hatherall-Shawe.
While “creator programs benefit the platform at a micro level,” she added, “it is definitely hard to feel justified in the revenue received as a creator directly from the platform.”
This is why it is important for creators to consider alternative monetization opportunities on the back of their TikTok fame, said Hatherall-Shawe.
One such opportunity is brand collaboration. The cost to a brand of recruiting a creator to collaborate on a campaign, or even a single post, on TikTok can vary widely. Although the social media and influencer industries are strictly licensed in Gulf countries, it is still something of a “wild west” situation in which the cost to a brand of a single post from a popular creator can be upwards of $4,000, said Hatherall-Shawe.
By way of an example, Mohammed Ghadour, who spends four hours every day creating TikTok videos, earns between $1,000 and $3,000 a month, according to a report by the BBC.
Aside from the possibility of brand collaborations, Hatherall-Shawe said, TikTok also provides tools designed to help creators make more money directly from their own content. Last year, for example, the platform introduced a “tip jar” feature through which fans can send cash tips to creators.
It also unveiled “video gifts,” a mechanism for viewers to send creators virtual gifts and coins. These can be redeemed for TikTok’s digital currency, “diamonds,” which in turn can be converted to cash. And, of course, popular creators can also use the fame they achieve on TikTok to sell their own merchandise or business-related offerings to followers.
“TikTok as a search engine for retail is hugely powerful,” said Hatherall-Shawe. “For many consumers, it is the first port of call for being influenced by fashion, beauty, sports, food and household items that are then purchased via direct channels publicized within the content.”
In May last year, the platform announced a new feature, TikTok Pulse, for sharing advertising revenue with leading creators. To qualify, a creator must have content in the top 4 percent of best-performing videos, have at least 100,000 followers, be over the age of 18, and have posted at least five videos in the past 30 days. Creators meeting all of these criteria receive 50 percent of the revenue from adverts appearing alongside their content.
Taking all of this into account, it is hard to see any downside for creators to prioritizing TikTok over other platforms, particularly for “short-form video content, especially in the fun, food, family and entertainment space — the type of content that is best received in the Arab world at the moment,” Hatherall-Shawe said.
She also pointed out that social media platforms, though extremely well-funded, are not always profitable, and that quantity usually takes priority over quality.
“These platforms are built on a model of user acquisition at all costs and keeping viewers’ eyeballs within their native apps as much as possible — it’s a volume game,” she added.
When leading creators gain enough of a following on TikTok to collaborate directly with brands, they can potentially earn thousands of dollars for a single post, none of which goes to the platform that helped them raise their profile. But that does not mean it is losing out on the deal.
“While a creator will outperform the platform financially as an individual, as a whole business, TikTok is certainly in the lead here,” said Hatherall-Shawe.
LONDON: Irish regulators on Wednesday hit Facebook parent Meta with hundreds of millions in fines for online privacy violations and banned the company from forcing European users to agree to personalized ads based on their online activity.
Ireland’s Data Protection Commission imposed two fines totaling 390 million euros ($414 million) in its decision in two cases that could shake up Meta’s business model targeting users with ads based on what they do online.
The watchdog fined Meta 210 million euros for violations of the European Union’s strict data privacy rules involving Facebook and an additional 180 million euros for breaches involving Instagram.
It’s the commission’s latest punishment for Meta for data privacy infringements, following four other fines for the company since 2021 that total more than 900 million euros.
The decision stems from complaints filed in May 2018 when the 27-nation EU’s privacy rules, known as the General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, took effect.
Previously, Meta relied on getting informed consent from users to process their personal data to serve them personalized, or behavioral, ads. When GDPR came into force, the company changed the legal basis under which it processes user data by adding a clause to the terms of service for advertisements, effectively forcing users to agree that their data could be used. That violates EU privacy rules.
The Irish watchdog initially sided with Meta but changed its position after the draft decision was sent to a board of EU data protection regulators, many of whom objected.
In its final decision, the Irish watchdog said Meta “is not entitled to rely on the ‘contract’ legal basis to deliver behavioral adverts on Facebook and Instagram.”
Meta said in a statement that “we strongly believe our approach respects GDPR, and we’re therefore disappointed by these decisions and intend to appeal both the substance of the rulings and the fines.”
The Irish watchdog is Meta’s lead European data privacy regulator because its regional headquarters is in Dublin.
LONDON: Large amounts of online data can be exploited by hackers in “parlor tricks” to access sensitive UK government information, experts have warned.
British officials’ phones can be hacked in 20 minutes using publicly accessible phone numbers, social media profiles and the personal details of thousands of civil servants, experts told The Times.
They added that ministers in Britain are more vulnerable than ever to “human hacking,” which involves using social engineering to deceive victims into giving access to phone data, including messages.
A database including the names, job titles and email addresses of 45,000 British civil servants was available on the UK Government Communication Service (GCS) website, according to The Times, but was taken down in March 2020 due to a website upgrade.
The GCS, however, said that the database will soon return.
In 3,000 database entries, phone numbers were included, while in many others, Twitter and LinkedIn profiles were listed.
“Social engineering really thrives on information: The more information you can give it, the more powerful it is,” warned Richard De Vere, a social engineering expert who exposed vulnerabilities at communications firm TalkTalk before the company was hacked in 2015.
De Vere said that the data available on the GCS website made the UK government “prime for social engineering attacks.”
Social engineering, a term used interchangeably with human hacking, uses manipulation to exploit human error and lure victims into exposing data or giving access to restricted systems.
Phone numbers that were available online included those for heads of department in the Cabinet Office, which has a cross-government role, including for finance and events, as well as numbers for directors at the British Council.
Other data belonged to high-profile members of the Ministry of Defence and the National Nuclear Laboratory.
De Vere had voiced his concerns to the National Cyber Security Centre in 2019 but was told the GCS was “supposed to have a public directory” and that staff had consented to their information being published.
Reports that former UK PM Liz Truss’ phone was hacked by Russian agents emerged in October 2022. De Vere said that he believed Truss was a victim of social engineering while serving as foreign secretary.
A government spokesman said that cybersecurity is taken “extremely seriously.”
A statement said: “Ministers receive regular security briefings and advice from the National Cyber Security Centre, including on protecting their personal data and mitigating cyber threats.”
In breach of ministerial rules, Home Secretary Suella Braverman was initially ousted from her position in October after sending a government document to a Conservative MP using her personal email.
LONDON: ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of video app TikTok, has laid off hundreds of employees across multiple departments at the end of 2022 as part of a cost-cutting measure, the South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday.
The job cuts have been implemented at Douyin, the Chinese equivalent of TikTok with about 600 million daily users, as well as the company’s gaming and real estate operations, SCMP reported citing sources.
The job cuts represent a small percentage of ByteDance’s workforce, the report added.
ByteDance did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.
DUBAI: Google Doodle marked the life of Egyptian journalist and author, Ihsan Abdel Kouddous on Wednesday.
Falling days after his birthday, the doodle marks the first anniversary of the publication the first widespread English translation of Koddous’ book, I Do Not Sleep.
A popular Arabic publication which appealed to the massed across the globe when he wrote it in the 1950s, it wasn’t translated into English until much later because literary critics dismissed his simple, direct style.
Born in Cairo, Egypt, on Jan. 1, 1919, Kouddous developed a love for reading as a young child and began writing short stories and poems at age 11.
After graduating from law school, he worked as an apprentice lawyer while trying out a journalism career at a magazine founded by his mother, Rose Al-Yousef.
It was at the magazine that Kouddous realized his passion for journalism.
Kouddous covered a variety of news events as a journalist and in his popular column A Cafe on Politics Street, he wrote about social issues.
He even courted controversy, being jailed several times for his often controversial stance.
He worked his way up in his career to become an editor for Egypt’s daily Al-Akhbar newspaper and editor-in-chief for news outlet Al-Ahram.
Kouddous also wrote more than 60 novels and short stories, which carried common themes including love, politics, psychology of social behavior, spirituality, and religion.
He won several awards for his work including an Order of Merit of the First Class from the president, and shortly after his death in 1990, an Order of the Republic of the First Class.
His work was also known regularly featuring strong female characters that were central to many of his works suchas “I Am Free advocating for women’s equality and independence”. 
Kouddous’ grandson, Sharif, described the author as a man remained as a “definitional presence” in his life.
“I remember his voice, his broad infectious smile, his undeniable charisma which infused any room he entered,” Sharif wrote in a family statement published on Google.
“As a journalist, essayist, and novelist,” he added.
“His impact is difficult to overstate. Anywhere I travel across the Arab world, from Egypt to Palestine, Iraq to Yemen, I am unfailingly greeted with warm embraces and open-eyes expressions of esteem when I am found to be related to THE Ihsan Abdel Kouddous.”
“He remains a towering figure in Egypt’s political, journalistic and literary history, one with a particular flair for the memorable quote. Among my favorites: ‘Culture represents a kind of will, the will of rebellion.’”
Kouddous died on Jan. 12, 1990, in Cairo, he was 71-years-old.

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