Qatar has the fourth highest percentage of Facebook users in the Arab world, according to a new report published by the Dubai School of Government, which has studied social media usage in 22 countries in the Arab world.
The 5th Arab Social Media Report shows that FB is also Qatar’s most popular social network. Some 34 percent of Qatar’s population used Facebook in March 2013, while 13 percent are on LinkedIn, and 3.8 percent use Twitter.
In a reflection of Qatar’s gender imbalance, only 28 percent of Facebook users in Qatar are women.
Despite its dominance, Facebook usage has actually fallen in Qatar since the beginning of this year. There are 1.5 percent fewer users now than in January, part of a wider trend in the GCC – Oman (-16 percent), Bahrain (-16 percent), Saudi (-8 percent), and Kuwait (-11 percent) have witnessed the most considerable decline in the area.
The report’s authors suggest this may be due to increased regulation and censorship, or possibly the growth of new social media sites designed specifically for the region.
Qatar is classified as an “emerging country” as far as Twitter is concerned. The latest statistics, from March 2013, show that 3.8 percent of Qatar’s population use it, about half as popular as it is in Kuwait, which has the highest usage level in the Gulf region (7.6 perncet), and more than a percentage point below the UAE, at 4.9 percent.
The report shows how Twitter usage in Qatar has grown. In 2011, only 1.5 percent (25,733) of residents were active users, compared to 3.8 percent (74,400) this year. Saudi Arabia’s usage has rocketed in the same period, from just 127,457 in 2011 to 1.9 million this year.
Unsurprisingly, KSA was responsible for almost half (47 percent) of all tweets in the Arab world in March 2013. By contrast, the UAE produced 11 percent of all tweets in the region, and Qatar was responsible for just 3 percent.
Tweeting in Arabic on the rise
The survey shows that tweeting in Arabic is on the rise. Arabic language tweets in the region account for over 76 percent of all tweets, a 10 percent increase on the same period last year. This trend is even greater in Qatar, where there’s been a 14 percent rise in tweets in Arabic.
The report also looks into the way governments in Arab countries communicate with their residents and citizens. It found that in Qatar, the Supreme Education Council tweets only in Arabic, while 35 percent of the Supreme Council of Health’s tweets are in English.
The report shows that there are 4.7 million active LinkedIn users in the 22 countries covered by the report, 10 percent more than last year.
The career networking site is particularly popular in Qatar, where 12.8 percent of the population have a profile, giving it the second highest penetration in the region, only behind the UAE at 16.45 percent.
Some 55 percent of users in Qatar are aged 35 and under, making it one of the most balanced LinkedIn populations in the region – Lebanon, where 72 percent of users are under 35, is the most unbalanced.
You can read the whole report here.
Credit: Photo by Franco Bouly