In the second edition of the Arab Social Media Report, produced by the Dubai School of Government’s Governance and Innovation Program, social media use – Facebook and Twitter specifically – has seen “exponential growth” in the Middle East since January. This is due largely to the many recent political uprisings in the region.
- The total number of Facebook users in the Arab world stands at 27,711,503 (as of April 5, 2011), up from 21,377,282 (January 5, 2011), having almost doubled since the same time last year (14,791,972 in April 2010).
- Youth (between the ages of 15 and 29) make up around 70% of Facebook users in the Arab region, indicating a slight increase in the number of users over 30 years old since the end of 2010.
- The estimated number of active Twitter users in the Arab region at the end of March 2011 was 1,150,292.
Multiplying by the ratio of total users to active users above (an average of 200 million/35 million = 5.7), we
get a total Twitter population of 6,567,280.
- The most popular trending hashtags across the Arab region in the first quarter were #egypt (with 1.4 million
mentions in the tweets generated during this period) #jan25 (with 1.2. million mentions), #libya (with
990,000 mentions), #bahrain (640,000 mentions), and protest (620,000)
- Female participation in Facebook usage remains glaringly low. Even though the percentage of female users has risenslightly in the region (to 33.5%), the percentage of female users globally still remains significantly higher (at 61%), andis growing at a faster rate.
“The role of social media in the uprisings sweeping the Arab world has been under assessment during 2011. The level of social media’s contribution to the buildup of the uprisings is still debatable… One thing that is certain is that given the region’s young population and increasing penetration rates, social media will continue to play a growing role in political, societal and economic developments in the Arab region.”