‘Facebook plays critical role in Arab world’s social movements’By IANS
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Abu Dhabi, Feb 8 (IANS/WAM) Networking sites like Facebook and Twitter will continue to play a critical role in organising social and civil movements in the Arab world, a new report says.
According to the inaugural Arab Social Media Report (ASMR) released by Dubai School of Government, a leading research and teaching institution focusing on public policy in the Arab world, the penetration of social networking tools is soaring in the Arab world.
The growth is highest among the youth between the age group of 15 and 29, who make up around one-third of the total Arab population.
The report states that the total number of Facebook users in the Arab world has increased by 78 percent, from 11.9 million in January 2010 to 21.3 million by December 2010, with 75 percent of the Facebook community in the Arab region belonging to this demographic and driving its growth.
The report also showed that the United Arab Emirates ranked first among Arab countries with 45 percent of its population owning Facebook accounts, in addition to being among the top 10 countries in the world in terms of Facebook penetration.
Using Facebook as a gauge of social media use in the region, the report analyzes data on users of the social networking giant in the Middle East including the 22 Arab countries. The report compiled data over the past year, by age and gender, and correlated it with several factors, including digital access, gender gaps, youth population and internet freedom.