There are 152 million internet users across Arab States, a 41% internet penetration rate across the region. Use of social media is growing rapidly in the region, with 55 million Facebook users in May 2013 (compared to 45 million in June 2012). Egypt has the highest number of Facebook users in the region (13 million). Meanwhile, Facebook use has decreased sharply in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar and UAE.
There are nearly 4 million Twitter users across the region, an increase of 79% from 2012 to 2013. Saudi Arabia has the highest number of Twitter users (1.9 million), an increase of 128% on the previous year.
Arabic is growing as a preferred language used by Facebook users, particularly in Yemen (81%), Palestine (75%), Libya (71%), Iraq (67%) and Egypt (61%). Use of Arabic as the language of tweets from the region is also on the increase, with 90% of Saudi tweets (and increase of nearly 20% on 2012), 83% Kuwait (increase of 5% on 2012), and 65% of Egyptian tweets (increase of 16% on 2012).
The Dubai School of Governance has analysed the language of government tweets in the region, and finds that, with the exception of UAE and Qatar over 90% of tweets from governments are in Arabic. Users tweeting about their government ministries also tend to use Arabic.
There are 4.7 million LinkedIn users across the region (compared with 4.3 million in 2012). In the region, 285 million videos are viewed every day from YouTube, and more than two hours of video are uploaded every minute. Saudi Arabia leads the region in YouTube playbacks, followed by Egypt, Morocco and UAE.
Emily Taylor is the CEO of Oxford Information Labs. She is an Associate Fellow of Chatham House and is the Editor of the Journal of Cyber Policy and co-founder of ICANN accredited registrar, Oxford Information Labs.
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