A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Facebook Has More Arab Members than All Arab Newspaper Readers Combined

A new report says that Facebook now has 15 million subscribers in the Arab world while all Arab newspapers — in Arabic, French and English combined — sell ony 14 million copies.

That link is to a BBC story. You can find the summary from Spot On Public Relations (a Dubai-based PR firm) here. The full report in PDF is here. (And yes, the PR firm is on Facebook.)

Some of their findings from their website:
MENA’s top five Facebook country markets, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, account for 70% of all users in the region.

50% of MENA Facebook users have selected their primary language for using Facebook as English, with 25% preferring French and just 23% Arabic.

Only 37% of Facebook users in MENA are female (compared with 56% in the USA and 52% in the UK). Only Bahrain and Lebanon Facebook communities approach gender equality with female users accounting for about 44% of total users.

The GCC has five million Facebook users, which Saudi Arabia and the UAE representing 45% and 31% of that total respectively.

North Africa has 7.7 million Facebook users, with Egypt accounting for 3.4 million users (or 44% of all North Africa users). Egypt has the largest Facebook community in MENA.

Francophone countries Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia together account for 3.7 million French speaking Facebook users, equivalent to nearly 25% of all MENA users.

As the BBC report notes, the study doesn't go into just how many of these users are actually choosing to use Facebook: political activism gets a lot of attention but presumably there's a lot of the same kind of social chatter we see in the West; the Middle Easterners I'm linked to on Facebook seem all over the place in what they post.

And of course, if you equate the sale of one copy of a newspaper with its having one reader, you've never been in a Middle Eastern coffeehouse.

No comments: