Saudi Arabian Sarahah app takes net by storm
Fizzing with a boy like exuberance, Saudi engineer Zainalabdin Tawfiq may be mistaken for a university freshman, however, the recognition of his “honesty” app has shone a spotlight on the conservative kingdom’s emergent technical school scene.
Tawfiq catapulted to fame once he took a day out of his day job as a business ANalyst last year to develop an anonymous electronic communication tool referred to as Sara hah-honesty in Arabic-that later screw-topped the charts for app downloads.
Initially formed as a tool for soliciting brusquely Frank geographic point feedback, Sara has found its method into the smartphones of Millennials worldwide, while critics have raised alarm concerning angling and privacy problems.
“Sara has is that the digital equivalent of AN old-school suggestion box,” 29-year-old Tawfiq told foetoprotein, adding that it’s engineered on the premise that remotion users of their identity promote unpitying honesty.
“Feedback is that the goal-anonymous feedback.”
The app incorporates a scotch style and an easy prompt that encourages users to “leave a constructive message :)”, with the recipient not allowed to reply however solely share it on social media or block the sender.
Its mass attractiveness stems from the appetence within the Arab world-notorious for online censorship-for unfiltered platforms for expression, although Tawfiq aforementioned it’s conjointly gained a powerful quality in Western countries.
Such has been its power to knock down social barriers that impede free speech that one user represented it as AN app wherever you’ll be able to “hit enter on comments you’d have otherwise backspaced”.
Sara has to this point drawn eighty-five million registered users and rocketed to the highest of the Apple app store in some countries, prior to heavyweights akin to Snapchat and Instagram.
‘Oil’s decline, entrepreneurship’s rise’
That a Saudi app might gain such success spotlights hidden potential for technical school innovation ANd entrepreneurship at a time of economic transformation in an ultra-conservative country.
“The success story of Sara has extremely proved that Saudi startups can do spectacular gains once properly supported,” aforementioned Nawaf Alsahhaf, CEO of Badir, a government-backed technology setup that helped Tawfiq.
“There actually is simple potential behind Saudi startups we have a tendency to presently incubate,” he told foetoprotein.
Saudi Arabia is promoting personal enterprise as a part of its formidable reform program to maneuver the dominion far away from its dependence on oil revenues.
“It is evident oil’s decline and Entrepreneurship’s rise area unit essentially tangled,” the Beirut-based working capital firm Leap Ventures wrote on its web site last year, noting a brand new growth in turbulent technical school innovations within the region.
A new breed of Saudi startups-from AN on-demand edge help app referred to as Morni to Hunger Station, a food ordering portal-have recently drawn the eye of venture capitalists.
Tawfiq aforementioned he’s in negotiations with venture capitalists from u. s., China and also the Arab world, while not revealing details, in response to critics United Nations agency question whether or not his app is often effectively monetized.
In some gender-segregated Arab societies, men have used Sara has for secret love confessions, however, it’s conjointly been employed by service delivery firms to reap constructive feedback and psychiatrists in the far-away metropolis to have interaction overtly on subjects akin to sexual health.
Sara has returned under attack for being a troll magnet-but Tawfiq aforementioned that drawback was common to any or all major social media platforms.
It has conjointly recently been suspect of in secret gather the address books of users. Tawfiq rejected that claim and aforementioned he plans to get rid of Sara hah’s address transfer feature with the following update.
He presently runs a decent ship with another business partner and 3 client support executives, however, is considering going away his day job to specialize in Sara hah full time.
“I believe that even one case (of abuse) is really too several,” Tawfiq aforementioned. “I won’t tell you the way, however, my aim is to form the duty of misusers as tough as attainable.”
Source: Prothom Alo