Arab Facebook users reach 32 million in August: Report

Reuters, Monday 19 Sep 2011

User numbers have been surging in Middle East countries seeing popular uprisings, says a new report on social media

Arab browsing
Social media use has boomed in countries seeing revolt, says study (Photo: Reuters)

Arab Facebook users grew by 50 per cent since the beginning of the year to reach 32 million in August, according to a report issued by Dubai School of Government (DSG).

The report which is entitled 'Arab social media report' indicated that while Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Lebanon have the highest percentage of Facebook users among its residents, countries witnessing popular uprisings have seen a surge in the number of users.

It explained that Egypt alone saw almost 4 million additional users of the popular social site since the beginning of 2011 till August.

Arab users of Twitter, the other increasingly popular social network website, reached 1.1 million sending more than 22.7 million tweets in the first quarter of 2011.

Most of the tweets were about current events with “Egypt”, “Jan 25”, “Libya” and  “Bahrain” being the most popular hashtags.

The report, which was prepared by the governance program in DSG, shows that women represent only one third of total social media users.

“The role of social media in the Arab world and its ability to influence decision making is still subject to sharp discussion since the beginning of 2011,” Says Fady Salem, head of DSG’s governance and creativity program.

“It has definitely played an important role in shaping opinions of youth in the Arab world.”

This is the second report in a series that observes the increase in use of Twitter and Facebook in the Arab Spring movements and their contribution to political and non-governmental activities. 

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