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Arab Facebook users reach 27.7M as Arab Spring fuels social media growth
The more governments block access, the bigger social media users grow, according to study, which registers 30 per cent increase in Facebook users in the Arab World for Q1 2011.
June 8, 2011 4:11 by Precious de Leon
There are now 27.7 million Facebook users in the Arab world by the end of the first quarter of 2011—a 30 percent jump from the beginning of the year, according to the second Arab Social Media Report (ASMR).
The findings of the report provide empirical evidence regarding the changing nature of social media usage in the region. According to the report, youth between 15 and 29 continue to account for around 70 per cent of Arab Facebook users at the end of Q1 2011, while women constitute just a third of users across the region.
The study, which is produced by the Governance and Innovation Program at the Dubai School of Government, also monitored Twitter growth in the region.
The number of active Twitter users in the Arab world during the same period was over 1.1 million—these are users who tweeted at least once every two weeks. These ‘active users’ generated over 22.7 million tweets during Q1 2011.
The UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain and Lebanon are the leading five countries in the region according to the percentage of Facebook and Twitter users while social media growth was the fastest in these countries experiencing social unrest. The report, which surveyed Facebook users in Tunisia and Egypt, in fact, found that six out of 10 respondents in both countries indicated that blocking access actually provided a boost to the movements, spurring protesters to more decisive and creative action.
The survey also indicated that around 85 per cent of respondents in both countries considered that social media usage during the movements in their countries was mainly for organizing people, disseminating information and raising awareness about the social movements.
Turkey continues to lead the region in terms of number of users while Egypt saw the highest increase in the number of users during the first quarter of 2011 among the Arab countries, adding close to two million Facebook users.
This edition monitored the growth of Facebook and Twitter in the region, propelled by the uprisings sweeping the Arab world. It revealed a substantial shift in the use of social media from social purposes towards civic and political action.
The full report can be accessed at www.arabsocialmediareport.com