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Learnings from Arab Social Media Report

August 23, 2012  »  StatisticsNo Comment

Arab Social Media Report, produced by the Dubai School of Government’s Governance and Innovation Program, analyzes usage trends of online social networking across the Arab region. Currently, four reports analyze data on Facebook and Twitter users in all 22 Arab countries (ten of these countries are located in Africa). According to ASMR, the research is part of a larger project focusing on social engagement through ICT for better policy in Arab states, among other things. Either way, the findings are quite interesting.

Facebook data has been collected from the Facebook advertising tool since April 2010; Twitter from January 2011 onward, and LinkedIn only recently. Google+ and YouTube data is to follow shortly. Google Public Data charts show both absolute numbers of users and penetration rates based on the overall population. Even better, four plots are available for each dataset.

Onward with a few findings that apply to Africa.


  • By the end of June 2012, the country average for Facebook user penetration in the Arab region was just over 12%, up from 10% at the beginning of the year, and up from 8% in June 2011.
  • Egypt still constitutes about a quarter of total Facebook users in the Arab region, and has added more users in the past year than any Arab country, at over 1.6 million new Facebook users between January and June 2012.
  • Still, based on overall Facebook penetration rates, Arab nations in Africa lag other Arab nations.
  • Tunisia leads all Arab African nations with nearly 30% penetration.
  • Two tiers follow: 9%-13% (Morocco, Egypt, Algeria, Libya) and 0.5%-5% (Djibouti, Sudan, Mauritania, Comoros, Somalia)
  • Tunisia’s Facebook penetration rate has nearly doubled since 2010. Morocco’s and Egypt’s have almost tripled, as have other African nations.
  • Rates have largely remained unchanged in Somalia, Comoros, and Mauritania.
  • In Djibouti, Facebook penetration is actually higher than Internet penetration, indicating the popularity of mobile access, multiple users of the same Internet account, or the utilization of Internet cafes for those who do not have Internet access in their homes or workplaces.
  • 16-22% of Facebook users are of ages 15-29 in Somalia, Morocco, Djibouti, Egypt, and Tunisia
  • 85% of users are male in Somalia vs. closer to 60% in Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia

Trend Over Time for Arab African Nations:

Map of Facebook Penetration in Arab States:


  • Arabic is the fastest growing language in Twitter history.
  • Through March 2012, Twitter penetration rates range from 0.26% in Egypt to 0.01% in Sudan (compared with 8.13% in Kuwait).
  • Egypt’s Twitter penetration rate has increased by 70% from October 2011 to March 2012. Little change elsewhere.

Twitter Penetration of Arab Nations


  • By the end of June 2012, the country average for LinkedIn user penetration in the Arab region was approximately 2%.
  • Data for Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco. Less than 1% penetration in all countries. Algeria leads with 0.93% penetration.

Curious for more analysis? Four thorough reports on social media in the Arab world are available on the ASMR site.

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