Sunday, May 2, 2021

Cyber Security and Social Media : Dangers and Impact

Interview * 

Philip Abou Zeid holds two master’s degrees in Media studies and communication and in political science and graduated from the Lebanese University and Saint Joseph University Beirut. With more than 15 years of experience in media field, he teaches social media, media ethics and communication strategies at USJ and Phoenicia University. However, he also trains NGOs and consults companies on the professional use of social media. 

What is the impact of technological advancements and how can it effect societies?

There is no doubt that technological advancement impacted our daily lives; however, it impacted businesses on many levels such as communication, services and retail. All these advancements made our daily lives smoother and simplified on the personal level, on the other hand the power of AI (artificial intelligence) is the future of stable economic prosperity and development.

My concerns regarding these advancements lie in the ways of implementation, to simplify it as such, high tech gadgets give hackers the ultimate opportunity to infiltrate, steal and share classified data and the outcome of such actions will be loss of assets, blackmailing etc... Thus, the ethical use of technology helps in bundling societies whilst unethical use will spread nothing but chaos.

Cyber security and social media platforms are interrelated, what’s their main connection?

Starting by a quote he wrote: “Email to social media accounts is what a key is worth to a car”. Let’s say you forgot your Email password and you need to reset your Facebook account password, well that’s going be impossible. So, the main connection between social media and cyber security is the availability and ease of access. As you may know users need to change their passwords occasionally to avoid being guessed by hacking apps used by attackers.

However, during my lectures there’s a chapter that focuses on data protection and I highly encourage my students to be aware at all times from visiting any suspicious unverified links.   

Do you consider our daily use of the internet safe and to what extent?

I think many people lack knowledge in basic security measures and this is due to the fast technological advancements. Moreover, our daily use of the internet is risky by means of allowing apps to share data, microphone/camera and our location. Being online means that you as a user acknowledges these risks and bares its responsibility.

As you know privacy wars have raged between two tech giants such as Apple and Facebook, why do you think that transparency and user permission should be advised. Why should the user be involved and how do you value privacy?

Privacy is the term that defines a user’s private life, for example privacy in the states is sacred and any breach to someone’s privacy can give you a serious prison time. In Europe however, Facebook is allegedly being sued by countless users regarding its breach of privacy agreements and its set to pay billions in compensations. The fight that Apple waged on Facebook is because they value their users and they believe that each user has the right to allow or deny any app that’s tracking his activity. As of June 2021, Facebook will block all viewed insight by any user as counter measure to user privacy policy update (still Facebook did not declare why, but this is our personal analysis).

As a user of multiple social media platforms, I believe that I’m solely entitled to manage everything concerning my privacy.     

An active user, manager and director on most popular social media platforms, can you give us key points on how to protect our privacy and data.

First things first never share any personal information (address, location, credentials) with anyone unless it’s an emergency then you can do it via call. Always make sure to use a two-factor authorization method which includes your current password and your phone number to receive a one-time 5 or 6 letter code to give you access to your account. Nevertheless, user awareness and performance are the key to his data protection by means of not sharing detailed information that can jeopardize his life, loved ones and assets.  

Being a senior political reporter and producer do you consider cyberwarfare forging new alliances not just regionally but also globally.

Absolutely, Cyber warfare is going to be the headline of next generation wars; however, this time the battle field for example is at a designated airport that’s hacked using DDoS, kill chain attack or etc. for this attack of terror will spread false information misleading the control tower and result in nothing but mayhem. I highly encourage countries to fortify their cyber security programs in order to defend and overcome any cyber-attack. Briefly, countries with advanced cyber security systems have the upper hand in forcible forging alliances with other third world countries for their benefit in acquiring raw material and advanced military tactics.         


Are the applied Lebanese security measures accurate and up to global standards?

I think Lebanon is by far away from acquiring security measures that are up to global standards. Taking into consideration the current situation, the lack of investments, the lack of reforms, outdated systems and the absolute absence of the government, our country is barely striving to keep is head above water as I recall few years back most of core governmental sites got targeted and were shut down. Briefly, having global standards requires adequate management and funding.  

What is a major vulnerability and how can we over come it?

A major vulnerability is lack awareness; I find it hard to believe that any of our hoary politicians aren’t even aware of these security flaws. As I urge my students to be aware of their cyber surroundings, I would wish to make awareness more accessible to everyone across Lebanon. 

What Lebanon needs today is the involvement of its new generation that can help implement new tactics to raise this phoenix from its ashes. Although technological advancement knows no limits, we need to adapt proper implementations to restructure our old-fashioned core and through E-governance for example, we’d be able to reduce identity fraud. Lebanon needs to reclaim its title as a functional hub in the region as it was back then in the 60s. In a word, adapting to technology has its challenge and we need to be prepared to withstand them.  


* Interview done by : Jack Masri


Monday, April 5, 2021

تويتر لبنان : زوبعة في فنجان


تويتر لبنان : زوبعة في فنجان

حكومات ظلّ غير فاعلة ! والتغيير الحقيقي يبدأ في صندوقة الإقتراع


حاشية: يأتي هذا المقال نتيجة تبادل أفكار وآراء بين كاتبين جمعتهما مقاعد الدراسة في مدرسة القلب الأقدس الجميّزة وفرقّتهما الحياة...


لبنان الجمهوريّة عاجز اليوم عن تشكيل حكومة لأسباب عديدة لا فائدة لنا في الاسترسال 

فيها. فالأهم من الأسباب هي تداعيات هذه الأزمة السياسيّة على المواطنين،

 وخصوصاً الشباب منهم،  مِن يأس وهجرة وشعور بالاختناق في وطن النجوم.



 يجد شباب لبنان في مواقع التواصل الاجتماعي وسيلة للترويح عن أنفسهم، لكن هذه المواقع أصبحت عالماً سياسياً بحد ذاته. 

كل مشترك يبدأ نهاره بقراءة الأخبار، أو بالأحرى المتناقلة بين من يتبع حساباتهم.

كثُرت الأخبار الكاذبة وهي تنتشر أسرع من أيْ خبر صحيح وموثّق. وهنا الكارثة لأنّ

 لبنان أضعفتهُ هذه الحقيقة الرقميّة الخطيرة! 

وهنا نسأل : هل تسبّبت هذه المواقع بتباعد اللبنانيين عن بعضهم البعض، بتفرقتهم وبثْ 

الكره في قلوبهم، ووصول لبنان إلى القعر؟ 


العودة قليلاً الى تاريخ انطلاق مواقع التواصل الإجتماعي التي تزامنت مع مرحلة انتقال الإنترنت من الجيل الأول الى الجيل الثاني web 1.0  الى web 2.0 وهنا بدأت فعلياً عملية تشارك المحتوى من الجمهور أو ما بات يعرف اليوم بالـ UGC  أو المحتوى الذي ينج عن المستخدم وليس عن صاحب الموقع الإعلامي أو المؤسسة أو الوكالة الإعلامية.

وتمتّع المستخدم بهذه الصفة بالذات جعله في مصاف صاحب وناشر المحتوى الإعلامي من دون أن يكون أهلاً لذلك! سواء لناحية التسلّح بالأخلاقيات العلمية وأصول التواصل والمهنة التي تقتضي 3 مقوّمات أساسية: الإحترافية الموضوعية والمصداقية والتواضع. وكل هذه الصفات لا نجدها اليوم في من يستخدم هذه المواقع ... حتّى ممّن هم – وللأسف – مؤتمنون على مهنة الإعلام وأهل الكار ! فالأخطاء – لا بل الخطايا – تُرتكب من الإعلاميين قبل المستخدمين العاديين سواء في التحقّق من المصادر على حساب السرعة في النشر أو في احترام أصول التخاطب وأخلاقيات المهنة.

وفي الواقع نحن اليوم في أزمة حقيقية. ليس فقط أزمة نظام سياسي، إنما أزمة أخلاقيات وأخلاق. ووصل بنا الأمر إلى حدّ تخوين وشتم وهتك أعراض من ينطق برأي أو موقف مغاير لموقف الآخر وبالتالي لقد أفرغنا مفهوم التواصل الاجتماعي من هدفها الأسمى ألا وهو خلق نقاش في مساحة حرّة تحترم الجميع. 



فهل يمكن إصلاح هذا الخلل؟ وكيف؟ وهل يمكن إعطاء هذه المواقع صفة أو دور؟


ظهرت فكرة "حكومة الظُل" في بريطانيا في أواخر القرن التاسع عشر، وهيَ تُعتبَر

 جهاز دستوري بريطاني، طبعاً لا قوة تنفيذيّة فعليّة لها.

 تتكوّن هذه الحكومة البديلة من الحزب المعارض كحكومة مُناهضة عملها سياسي بحت، تُمارس المعارضة في إطار العمليّة السياسيّة الديمقراطيّة التي تحافظ على التوازن 

الداخلي للنظام الجمهوري الليبرالي الحر، وتحول دون تحوّل الحكم عن المبادىء والمفاهيم الديموقراطيّة وجنوحه نحو الاستبداد في إدارة البلاد.


باختصار شديد، تُشكّل حكومة الظل صورة سامية للديمقراطية تسمح للجميع بالعمل من دون تهميش أي طرف.  


غايْة هذا "الكابينيت" أولاً ودائماً هي خدمة الوطن والمواطنين عبر مراقبة عمل الحكومة، 

كشف العيوب في قرارتها وتقديم حلول جديدة. 

يَقَع إذاً على عاتقها مُهمة المعارضة الجادّة الفعّالة لتحقيق النفع العام. 


انطلاقاً من هذا المبدأ، هل نشهد في يوم من الأيام تعديلاً دستورياً يسمح بإنشاء هكذا حكومة ظل؟ وهل يسمح للمعارضة بتكوين كيان دستوري يحمي عملها وصلاحياتها؟ وهل يمكن لتويتر وغيره من المواقع الالكترونية أن تشكّل هذه الحكومات البديلة؟


الحقيقة المُرّة هي أنّ دستور لبنان مُعرّض في كل فترة من الزمن إلى إجتهادات على وقع أزمات المنطقة المتتالية.


 وربّما طرح فكرة تخصيص حكومة معارضة أو حكومة ظل في الدستور تبلسم جراح من لم يتمكن من الوصول عبر الإنتخابات الى الندوة البرلمانية وتعطيه موقعاً معارضاً أو على الأقل تكون هناك فرصة أمامه ليُسمع صوته للناس والحكومة الفعلية التي تمارس الصلاحيات الدستورية الحقيقية. 


من هنا لذلك نرى أهميّة وجود حكومة معارضة ينصّ عليها الدستور، وربما تكون مخرجاً

 لحل مشكلة لبنان الأساسيّة، ألا وهي تفضيل المصالح الحزبيّة والشخصيّة 

على  المصالح الوطنية.


وكم من حساب على التويتر وراءه ناشط سياسي أو إجتماعي طموح، وكم من مجموعة

 حسابات ناشطة تنطبق عليها أحياناً تسميَة "الذباب الإلكتروني" نصّبت نفسها قوى 

معارضة للرأي الآخر وما المعلوم ما أهدافها!

 هذا بإختصار شديد توصيف المشهد السياسي اللبناني على التويتر.

 يُؤثر حالياً هذا المشهد الرقمي بصورة كبيرة على الحياة الديموقراطيّة اللبنانيّة 

ويَزيد الشرذمة في صفوف اللبنانيين.  ويمكننا القول أنّ أشدّ ما يبحث عنه لبنان اليوم هو بارقة أمل أساسها وحدة شعبه لمواجهة صعوبة 

وخطورة الصراعات الإقليميّة.


والحالة على تويتر - والآن كلوب هاوس، هي كالآتي : "كلٌّ يُعارض على ليلاه وأنا أعارض على ليلي"!

 وأصبح الليل لا ينجلي عن وطننا لبنان! 


فالسياسة فشلت في الحوار ولمّ الشمل، ولم يبقَ مخرجاً للأزمة غير الدستور.


إذن هناك شبه إجماع أن هذه القرقعة التي نسمعها على تويتر وغيره من المواقع مهمّة اذا ما نظرنا اليها في سياق الصوت الآخر المعارض للنهج والسلطة ، ولكنّها برأينا لا ترقى ولن ترقى الى مستوى تغييري فعلي الا اذا تُرجمت التغريدة الى صوتٍ في الصندوقة! نعم إن الانتخابات النيابية المقبلة هي محطة أساسية ومفصلية في تاريخ لبنان المعاصر (ما بعد الطائف) فإمّا تتكوّن معارضة وطنية لا طائفية حقيقية مبنية على الفكر لا على الانتماء الطائفي، ومبنية على الرؤية لا على المصالح الضيّقة ومبنية على المستقبل ورؤية لبنان 2050 – لبنان بلد نفطي وبلد متطوّر وبلد حضاري – أو عمرها لا تكون ولن تكون.

هل المعارضة وكل صوت معارض قادرة على لعب هذا الدور؟

حتى الآن الجواب هو كلّا.


ثورة ١٧ تشرين حملت معها الكثير من الأشياء الجميلة لكن من أهم أسباب عدم نجاحها هي فقدان القيادة،

 تعدّد الأفكار وحسابات التويتر! هو على خطأ من يعتقد أنّ الآراء والصراعات الإلكترونيّة كفيلة بإحداث التغيْر الذي يُنشده الشعب.


 لبنان جمهوريّة قوتّها في تاريخها وتاريخ دستورها. لكن، وهنا نطرح أيضاً السؤال، أليس ما ينقص لبنان هو معارضة قويّة؟

 عندها، ليحكم من رَبح ويُعارض من خَسِر في حكومة الظل! 


د. رامي رحمه – اختصاصي في أمراض الدم

فيليب أبو زيد –أستاذ جامعي في الإعلام والتواصل الإجتماعي




Friday, January 1, 2021

2020 was a Mess? Here’s a roadmap for a better 2021

2020! What a year!

356 days ago, I wrote: Your Roadmap to a better 2020!


There’s no way on earth I would’ve imagined 2020 will turn out to be the way it was! By far, it is one of the most challenging yet toughest years to witness in my entire professional and personal life! 

No roadmap could ever work where every road seemed to be blocked by major world events let alone local problems and consequences of a pandemic.

#Covid_19 has changed the whole planet. Changed the way we think. The way we communicate. The way we greet, meet, eat, work and live.

But since life offered us a second chance to survive another year, here is another roadmap to a better 2021 based on what we saw and hoping next year will be much better and less chaotic.


1- Focus on your Health first:


“To ensure good health: eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life.” William Londen.


2020 proved like never before that health is the most important value in life. In 2021 let your number ONE priority be your health.

 Eat healthy, worry less. Exercise more. Make sure to stay active and to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Drink less alcohol eat more vegetables and protein and watch your vitamins levels. Why? #Covid_19 is here to stay for at least the first 2 quarters of 2021 and until the vaccine reaches your countries you have to keep your body in shape to survive naturally the virus and other forms of illnesses.

God forbids, if you caught the virus, drink more water, tea, soup and consume more vitamins and minerals and hope you will not need a hospital.

But to avoid all this, stay safe and never take off your mask!


2- Family is worth sacrificing your time for!

We never know the value of people until we lose them. Nevertheless, family members are the ones we miss and love the most. Try to spend more time in 2021 with your family members. Call them, check on them, and do not nag if your parents still call you every morning to check on you. Even if you’re forty or fifty, receiving calls from our parents is a blessing. One day, when we disconnect forever with them, we will thrive for a 1 second conversation with them.

3- Tighten your friendships

It is said that “friends are the family we choose for ourselves”. While life offers you many chances, it also offers you few real friends. By now, you should know who were there when you needed them and who forgot about you when you disappeared during 2020 because of lockdown. There are those who forgot about you when you stopped hanging out with them and there are those who don’t call unless they need something from you… forget about them. Focus on friends who know your birthdate without having Facebook remind them about it.

Focus on friends who know that you are NOT okay from the way you answer the phone or send a voice note.

These friends are true asset! They love you for nothing in return. Invest in your relationship with them during 2021.


4- Forget about making more money

Unless your work doesn’t operate online nor is related to medical field and you don’t take orders to deliver during pandemic times, forget about growth in your field. Thus forget about bonuses and big numbers and deals. It is sad but it is true! The pandemic killed many businesses and made thousands yet millions around the globe jobless!

If you still have a job, it’s a blessing. Focus on survival and PLAN for the aftermath. There will be a BOOM in all fields after the pandemic. Think and plan how to book a place in the rising market and benefit from this time to create the perfect strategy for that.


5- Develop your skills: Learn something new!

Online courses are now more valuable and necessary than any time before. If you can register in courses online related to your field of expertise, do it NOW!

Do not hesitate to go back to university courses, books, reading and learning something new. Our brain is in constant need to learn and acquire new skills.

Let this year be a preparatory year for LIFE AFTER COVID_19. Learn about online marketing, digital, social media marketing and develop your own skills in these fields for no matter what your profession is, if you are not skilful enough in this rising world of Digital you will not be able to find yourself on the map of the future.

There are many courses online and for cheap prices, benefit now and commit to finishing them and talk about it. Share knowledge with people around you, it will make the world a better place!


Finally, I will leave you in peace for now, with this photo I've taken on the last day of 2020, I’ve shared my roadmap for a better 2021 hoping that it will bring nothing but peace to the world and good health to everyone we know and love.


Until next year! Stay Safe.





Cyber Security and Social Media : Dangers and Impact

Interview *  Philip Abou Zeid holds t wo master’s degrees in Media studies and communication and in political science and graduated from the...