Twitter-happy UAE leads GCC in social media

With a Facebook penetration rate of almost 30 per cent and more than 200,000 Twitter users, the UAE leads the Gulf countries in social media usage and penetration, a new report reveals.

According to the just released second edition of the Arab Social Media Report (ASMR) by the Dubai School of Government (DSG), the UAE has over 2.4m Facebook users out of a total official population of 8.26m, resulting in a penetration rate of 29.13 per cent – the highest among Gulf countries.

Although Saudi Arabia has more Facebook users at over 4m, with a population of more than 27m, its penetration is just a tad over 15 per cent, ahead of only Oman, which has a Facebook penetration rate of less than 9 per cent.

With over 481,000 Facebook users among a population of 1.7m, Qatar’s Facebook penetration rate of 28.32 per cent is second only to the UAE among GCC countries, followed by Bahrain (24.54 per cent penetration) and Kuwait (22.82 per cent).

The ASMR also reveals that there are 201,000 Twitter users in the UAE – the most among GCC countries – although its penetration rate of 2.43 per cent is far behind leader Qatar’s 7.83 per cent, which is followed by Bahrain (5.01 per cent) and Kuwait (3.24 per cent). Saudi Arabia and Oman have Twitter penetration rates of less than 1 per cent.

According to the DSG report, the total number of Facebook users in the Arab world as of April 5, 2011, stands at 27.7, having almost doubled from 14.8m in April 2010, and up almost 30 per cent on the 21.4m users recorded as of January 5, 2011.

GCC countries still dominate the top five Arab Facebook users as percentage of population, with Lebanon being the only exception. The UAE remains at the top of the Arab region.

Egypt still constitutes about a quarter of total Facebook users in the Arab region, and has added more users in the first quarter of 2011 than any Arab country, at close to 2m new Facebook users between January 5 and April 5, the report states.

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