Eclipsing Facebook and Twitter: WhatsApp most popular social media site for Arabs
WhatsApp was named the most popular social networking website in the Arab World eclipsing other major websites such as Facebook and Twitter, according to a new report revealed by the UAE government.
Around 41 percent of social media users in the Arab world preferred to communicate via WhatsApp over other networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
WhatsApp saw the highest acceptance rate in Lebanon and Sudan with 58 per cent and 50 per cent of respondents preferring the application. Jordan had the lowest acceptance rate at 18 per cent.
Nearly 89 per cent of users polled had access to WhatsApp, the report said.
Social networking site Facebook followed closely in popularity with 39 per cent of users favouring the site.
Facebook was found to be the most popular in Jordan with 63 per cent users preferring it, followed by 50 per cent of users in Libya and Palestine.
Meanwhile, the favorability of Facebook dipped in Gulf countries with just 24 per cent of users in Saudi Arabia logging into the site regularly.
Instagram was the third popular social media site in the Arab World with six per cent of users favouring it. It had the highest acceptance rate in countries such as the UAE, Kuwait and Bahrain at 11 per cent each while its popularity fell as low as one per cent in Syria.
YouTube also saw lower favourability rates with just five per cent of users in the region.
The video platform was the most popular in Qatar and Bahrain at 11 per cant and nine per cent respectively.
Twitter was the lowest preferred social media site with just four per cent using regularly. The highest preference for the microbloggging site was noted in Saudi Arabia and the UAE at 12 per cent and eight per cent respectively.
Social media usage in the Middle East has been growing steadily over the last few years, aided by rising smartphone penetration rate and increasing broadband access in the region.
The networking sites have also been instrumental in sparking social movements across the region, the most notable being the Arab Spring protests in 2011 and the subsequent upheaval in other countries.
In order to keep pace with the social media savvy citizens, Arab governments too have stepped up their presence on social media websites.
The UAE government, specifically, has been quite active on social media sites. With a presence in Facebook and Twitter, it also recently launched accounts in YouTube and Instagram.
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