Who are the Dohabibis, the ‘influencers’ who recorded a ‘fake’ video in front of the Spanish fans of the World Cup in Qatar | Technology
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“We are with the fans of the Spanish team!” Mike shouts at the beginning of the video, recorded in Qatar. I would raise the camera and you could see a group of fans wearing Spanish national team jerseys who were shouting and dancing and beating drums. From their appearance, there were serious doubts that they were Spanish. “Even the supposed fans of the very Cuenca promotional videos don’t seem to,” he wrote. a Twitter user.
The video has been viewed more than 200,000 times and widely commented on. The suspicion and criticism was that the Qatari organization had artificially recruited a handful of locals to pose as Spanish fans.
EL PAÍS has contacted the two influencers Spaniards presenting the images. They call themselves Dohabibis [palabra compuesta por la capital de Qatar y “habibi”, palabra muy común en árabe que significa “cariño, querido, mi amor”] and they are Mike and María, two Spaniards from Seville and Barcelona aged 31 and 30 who have been living in Qatar since 2019. María is a personal trainer at a women’s gym and Mike is a podiatrist at a public hospital. Both continue to work, despite the bonus they get as influencers.
“There is a lot of misinformation with this video,” Mike explains over the phone. “The people in the video are groups of Indian nationality who have lived here since before I was born. Most expatriates in Qatar are from that area: India, Pakistan, Bangladesh. Being such a large population, it is normal for them to want to show their affection for soccer. They had been writing to us for a while because they wanted to do something and they organized this parade along the corniche [paseo marítimo]They told us that they would be excited if we went with them because they know that we are followers and fans of the Spanish team. We went and we had a great time. They have incredible energy and gait,” he adds.
Each classified team has a group of fans, like a kind of Indian/Pakistani Spanish supporter club from Qatar, in the case of Luis Enrique’s team. A few days ago they organized this parade. In the video from Spain, a group of “Argentines” can be seen. “All the teams were on the street,” says María. “There were more influencers. The content is very free. They didn’t tell us that we should go there to make this video. It was only because the group of followers from Spain had been writing to us for some time. We are looking forward to the arrival of the Spanish fans to the World Cup ”, she adds. In this video you can see all the “fans” of each country in that parade:
Maria and Mike did not know each other before Qatar. They came into contact thanks to a Facebook group of “Spaniards in Qatar”. After a few months, in April 2021 they decided to open an Instagram account to “explain our lifestyle” and soon after another on YouTube. It is an influencers format closely linked to travel and tourist offers. “It started as a hobby. Now it’s doing pretty well, but it’s not our livelihood,” says Mike.
The photos on Instagram, where they have 13,000 followers, are landscapes of the city, hotels or posed (María and Mike have been married in these two and a half years in Qatar). On YouTube they offer content in Spanish that they couldn’t find before they moved: beaches, prices, food, daily life. “How much does it cost to live in Qatar?”, “Our fasting experiment in Ramadan”, “Hayya Card: Everything you need to know about the 2022 World Cup” or “hot week in Qatar + staycation at Ritz Carlton Doha”.
In October 2020, the Supreme Committee of Qatar 2022, which organizes the World Cup together with Fifa, contacted them to make content for their networks for the World Cup. One of these videos is the viral one that came out this Monday. It was by no means the first. Maria and Mike have watched various Arab Cup matches and other events. In their Instagram stories there are dozens of examples. “We create videos and they manage and upload them. in our stories we reposted those videos to give them more reach,” says Mike. The main account where publish is @roadto2022es. There are two others in English and Arabic. Also, they explain, there are other international influencers doing this work for the Supreme Committee.
Does the boycott for human rights and the controversy prior to the World Cup affect the work of influencers? “We are amused that with the misinformation that exists, many of the things that are happening are confirmed. We invite everyone to come here and see the reality in Doha, how the World Cup is being prepared and that’s it”, says Mike.
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