Streamer Shahid is collaborating with Barajoun Entertainment to produce animated originals

“The Middle East has had a soft spot for anime since the 80’s” – META Manager

Can you tell us about the latest content trends on Instagram in the Middle East, especially in Saudi Arabia?

The Middle East region has one of the highest social media usage rates in the world. People across the region have turned to Instagram to speak up about causes important to them and have successfully sparked waves of digital activism that have resulted in content focused on sharing information and building communities . It also allowed others to find their own voice in these movements.

We’ve also seen an increasing interest in Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) in our communities as the excitement for concepts like the Metaverse and Web3 continues.

Content creators in the region creatively used our Spark AR capabilities to highlight the spirit of Ramadan and enrich the celebration of the holy month with filters from @Bdanabol and @aymen_ghnia, topping the list.

Reels’ content is also on the rise, with content spanning everything from celebrating Saudi coffee as 2022 is declared the Year of Saudi Coffee, to anime and K-Pop content, to the latest hits on Netflix.

Moon Baz, Head of Entertainment Partnerships for MENA and Turkey at Meta. (supplied)

Can you elaborate on the popularity of anime content on the platform?

The Middle East has had a soft spot for anime since the 1980s. Japanese art has inspired Arab creators to use anime for self-expression, incorporating Arab culture and sensibility into its parameters of character and world-building.

With the boom in local anime creation, lovers of the medium are increasingly turning to Instagram as a platform to showcase their talents. To date, the #anime hashtag on Instagram has garnered almost a million followers in KSA, UAE, Egypt and Kuwait.

Regional creators explore the full breadth of the anime universe with manga, cosplay, origami, and fairy tale anime productions converging on the platform, redefining the boundaries of the medium through its originality.

Talents like Jassim Al Mohannadi use Instagram to post original anime productions laced with Middle Eastern flavors. Jasim has published 21 chapters of his own Arabic manga creations on WEBTOON entitled “Justice in the Wasteland” and authored the Middle East manga “Primeval”. Others like Reem (@renberryart) have been able to turn their impressive talents in anime illustration into an Instagram revenue stream. Everything from anime movie characters to Mirko and Tengen fusions can be found in Reem’s burgeoning storefront.

We are excited to witness the incredible Japanese art shaping the Middle East’s creator communities and continuing to make Instagram a home for self-expression.

How has fashion and travel content grown on the platform?

Instagram is a place to discover, share and promote culture. We see our community turning to places like Explore, Reels, and Stories for inspiration, to express themselves, and to discover all kinds of content. However, there is no doubt that the fashion and travel categories have always been and still are a cornerstone of the Instagram experience.

There’s always a new fashion trend to jump on, what to wear and where to shop. Our 2022 Instagram Trends Report showed that Gen Z is now taking bold steps with their style choices, using fashion as a vehicle for joy, optimism and self-expression.

They are also moving away from the websites of major online retailers, as more than half of young people are interested in new shopping experiences and opening up new avenues for small and medium-sized businesses and thrift stores.

In the region, we’ve recently seen an interest in modest fashion, where the hashtag #modestfashion has grown by 45 percent in the UAE as creators experimented in the run-up to Ramadan.

Travel content is also on the rise, especially with the boom in reels. We’ve seen creative content from a variety of creators in the region, including Murad and Nataly Osmann and Kasem Hato, constantly sharing everything from summer vacation hotspots to hidden gems around the world, through content that a create a sense of adventure.

What do brands need to know about current content trends, both in terms of creating their own content and collaborating with creators?

90 percent of people on Instagram follow a business globally, making it easier for brands to turn content into commerce by building trust with customers through their own channels and collaborating with key thought leaders and creators.

We’ve launched a range of tools to help brands seamlessly connect and collaborate with creators on Instagram, including branded content ads, shopping from creators, and branded content tags, to name a few.

Last year we added a new hub to the Professional Dashboard where businesses can find inspiration to come up with more content ideas for those who aren’t sure where to start. Instagram users with business accounts can browse a collection of high-quality organic and promoted posts from other companies in hopes that this will inspire them to post their brand-specific content.

There’s so much room to explore and expand brands’ online presence, and to make that search easier, we’ve curated guidelines and tips to help businesses amplify their growth based on their goals.

How does Instagram invest in content creators?

YouTubers are the heart of culture on Instagram. We strive to develop a range of tools to support the diverse needs and ambitions of creators, whether they are aspiring, aspiring, or established creators.

If you have an idea that you want to share with the world, you should be able to create it and publish it easily and simply – via Facebook and Instagram – and earn money for your work. That’s why we’re focused on developing a range of creative and monetization tools across our platforms to support the diverse needs and ambitions of creators, whether they’re just starting out or already have an established brand.

In 2021, we’ve expanded content funding support for even more creators to produce fun and engaging content that helps them grow their personal brands and make a living. We also launched @creators to reach even more aspiring creators around the world with best practices, new products, and tips and trips.

We have a dedicated Creators page that has everything a creator on Instagram needs to know – from trends, content tips, success stories, safety and money-making, to guidelines on how to use the latest tools and features.

By the end of 2022, we plan to invest over $1 billion in programs that offer creators new ways to monetize the content they create on Facebook and Instagram. This investment includes new rewards programs that pay eligible creators for hitting certain milestones when using our creative and monetization tools.

We will also provide seed capital for creators to produce their content. Our goal is to help as many creative people as possible achieve sustainable, long-term success with our apps.

Finally, how does Instagram moderate and monitor content?

If we find content, such as a post, comment or story, that violates our Community Guidelines, we remove it from Instagram. If the content doesn’t violate our Community Guidelines but may be inappropriate, disrespectful, or offensive, we may restrict it from Explore instead of removing it from Instagram.

Our Community Guidelines define what’s and isn’t allowed on Instagram, and they apply worldwide. They are designed to encourage expression and create a safe environment on Instagram.

We use technology and human reviewers to find, review, and take action on content that may violate the Community Guidelines. Artificial intelligence technology is central to our content review process. AI can identify and remove content that violates our Community Guidelines before anyone reports it.

In other cases, our technology sends content to human review teams for a closer look and to make a decision about it. These thousands of reviewers around the world focus on content that is most harmful to Instagram users.

Anime content creators in the Middle East

User: @artistsoosa https://www.instagram.com/artistsoosa/

About: Jeddah-born Samah Kamil was the first Arab artist to receive a master’s degree in manga art from the Faculty of Art and Design at King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia. In addition to being an artist, she is also the editor of Manga Arabia, leading and facilitating workshops on a variety of manga-related topics.

Her work, which she posts on Instagram, exemplifies Saudi culture through contemporary anime drawings that reflect meaningful storylines with relatable characters and social messages.

User: 6th__kage https://www.instagram.com/6th__kage/

About: The Saudi Arabia-based content creator is an avid gamer, bridging the worlds of gaming and anime. He often plays his favorite character Kakashi Hatake from the Naruto manga series.

User: @Paris.ae https://www.instagram.com/paris.ae/

About: @Paris.ae takes cosplaying to the next level, featuring an Emirati kawaii doll that brings anime characters to life.

User: @Renberryart https://www.instagram.com/renberryart/

About: Reem, 21, has combined her passion for all things anime with her artistic skills to create digital art, which she posts and sells through her Instagram page.

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