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Viber opens up Public Chats in Middle East, Africa

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Viber, one of the leading messaging and calling apps with more than 664-million users worldwide, has opened its latest social channel Public Chats’ to partners in Africa and the Middle East.
Brands, organisations, celebrities, public figures and social influencers from these countries can now join Viber’s global platform to reach a local and regional audience.
Public Chats are live discussions that Viber users can follow, like and share with their community. Released in beta version in November 2014 with select global partners, this feature offers a new kind of social experience – tapping into live conversations from celebrities, personalities, brands and organizations. Mobile users can discover new communities, follow interactive chats in realtime and share original pieces of content with friends and contacts.
“The Middle East and Africa are important markets for Viber, and we are pleased to welcome local influencers and brands to our Public Chats platform,” says Mark Hardy, chief marketing officer at Viber. “We are sure they will enjoy chatting, commenting and debating live on this active social channel while sharing tips, news, and local content to our constantly connected mobile audience across the region.”
Selected partners in Africa, at Pan-African level and in key markets such as South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Ivory Coast and Egypt, have joined Public Chats for this regional launch in a bid to be the first players to offer local conversations on Viber. African users can now start to follow them from the Viber Public Chats explore page.
Partners in South Africa include Vanessa Haywood, business woman, sports personality and actress; Cindy Pivacic, HIV awareness creator; Carishma Basday, actress, model and yogi; GreenPop, an environmental NGO on a mission to plant trees; Homeology, an interior design webzine; Gareth Pon, internationally recognised image creator; African Hip Hop music blog; celebrity adventure couple Gugu and Letshego Zulu; Soul Singer Ms Kelle; Celebrity talent, brand and media management specialist Sheree O’Brien and Hint Business Community founded by Brandon Tancott and Willem Gous.
Public Chats are easy to follow from within the Viber app. Anyone on Viber can follow as many Public Chats as they like. Conversations are multi-media and include text, photos, audio, video, stickers, web links and geo-localization. Users can invite friends to follow their favourite Public Chats and share parts of these conversations. The most popular chats are featured on the home screen of Viber’s Public Chats section. Users can easily find new Public Chats through the search tab or access a chat directly via a customized URL.
Global brands, celebrities and public figures on Public Chats include online media platforms such as Huffington Post, Mashable, BuzzFeed and the BBC; the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modri; Pop star Pixie Lott and Model and Actress Karolina Kurkova.