In an area where freedom of expression is hard to find, the Clubhouse has been extremely popular. In many Arab countries, the new platform is at the top of the most downloaded applications. Ayman Mhanna, director of the Samir Kassir Foundation in Beirut, said: “People are eager to be able to speak frankly.” Exceptional areas.”
The Gulf countries, Egypt and Iraq, are particularly popular. The conversation involves everyday things like shawarma and pets, but there are also frank debates on controversial topics such as feminism, sex, polygamy, politics and other taboo topics.
Clubhouses are now banned in Oman and Jordan; in other countries, politicians have joined to meet their needs.
Encourage users to use their real names and post their avatars. Spontaneous discussions in chat rooms are hosted by the moderator and often feel very intimate. Participants-sometimes dozens, sometimes thousands-can listen or participate. The clubhouse is all the words spoken in a confidential atmosphere. But is that sense of security an illusion?
Mhanna said: “Suspicious security and privacy settings are undoubtedly a problem.” “People who speak freely are at risk of being recognized.” His foundation is committed to fighting for more freedom of expression in the region. “Remember, this is still the worst area in the world in terms of freedom of speech.”
Egyptian national television recently claimed that the clubhouse is a place for “terrorist” activities. Because only those who own an iPhone can use it, and not everyone in Egypt can pay, so it is part of the users.
So far, dancers and choreographer Hazem Header mostly feel free when dancing. But since he joined Clubhouse, he has met many like-minded people.
He said that the clubhouse provided him with the opportunity to breathe and speak freely:
In Saudi Arabia, almost everyone has an iPhone, and Clubhouse is the most popular app in the store. Basma El Khereiji of Jeddah said: “I live in a club for at least five hours a day. She has more than 6000 followers. “I want to know more about this new platform. all. It is refreshing because it is so spontaneous. “
For young businesswomen, this is a great way to meet new people. “In this society, it is not accustomed to have good conversations with strangers. Now you can exchange ideas in a relaxed and open way.”
You can only register if you receive an invitation from an already member. This feeling of exclusivity attracts many people. When Ahmed Al Mujadadi was bored during another Corona blockade in Saudi Arabia, he decided to accept the invitation. Soon he became addicted. “One day, I stayed in the club house for twelve hours. I think it might be problematic. But there are a lot of interesting conversations. I like podcasts. It’s an interactive podcast. You can participate in it.”
The confrontational element seemed interesting to him. “My friend and I are alike. Clubhouse provides opportunities to exchange ideas with all kinds of people.”
He did point out that people were more open in the beginning than they are now. “The Internet is still the Internet. I often hear someone put forward controversial opinions, and later found a recording of his story on Twitter. This makes people more cautious.”
There is often a debate about what it means to be Saudi Arabia. “Conversations about identity, culture, generation gap. There are chat rooms for religion and politics. Maybe these are taboo topics, but people talk about it easily and openly without causing any problems.”
Whether it will always be like this is still a question. Mhanna of Beirut, Lebanon, said: “People are definitely in danger of crossing the red line, which may lead to legal action. If this happens, serious discussions with Clubhouse about security settings are needed.”
He is not too worried about the government banning the clubhouse. “Even then, people will always find a way to solve this problem and still participate.”