The Arab Social Media Report: A Report from the Dubai School of Government.


This week, I was at the Marcus Evans Middle East Social Media and Marketing Event as part of team   The event was enjoyable, the speakers were well-informed and the attendees were wonderful. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Stay tuned to the site, as we’ll be posting highlights, video and commentary on the use of Social Media as a tool for Brand Awareness and marketing. As a Digital Consultant, one of my jobs is to provide Digital Marketers and Managers with information that helps support their jobs and campaigns. Research Associate, Racha  Mourtada introduced the Arab Social Media Report – the first report provide data on Facebook users in all 22 Arab Countries, in addition to Iran and Israel.  This is part of an initiative that focuses on social engagement through ICT for better policy in Arab states, which explores the use of social networking services in governance, entrepreneurship promotion and social inclusion.(1)

Here’s Racha Mourtada bringing us some details on the second Arab Social Media Report, to be released shortly.


Yes, I read the report and I find it to be a valuable contribution to those who wish to bring forward credible analysis to justify the force and potential of social media. I will definitely be referencing this report in next month’s conferences and presentations.   Some interesting points (all from

  • Countries with high Facebook penetration rates also have high Human Development Indices, although not all countries with a high HDI necessarily have high Facebook penetration rates (e.g., Saudi Arabia and Libya).
  • The average percentage of female Facebook users in the Arab region (roughly 30%) is well below the world average of 54%. This is in line with the low levels of political and economic participation, and varying access to healthcare and education in the Arab world, as reflected in the relatively low rankings of the Arab countries in the 2010 Global Gender Gap report.
  • Although there are variations in the percentages of youth in different Arab countries, young Facebook users (between the ages of 15 and 29) consistently dominate across the board in all Arab countries, exceeding the percentage of youth population. This indicates that they are main driving force behind the growing Facebook penetration rate.
  • Internet freedom does not seem to affect Facebook penetration in the Arab region. Some countries with lower scores (i.e., more pervasive filtering) have relatively high Facebook penetration. This could be due to the creativity of the youth population in finding ways to bypass filters and censors.



Stay tuned to this space for more coverage of the Marcus Evans Social Media and Marketing event 2011 in Dubai.

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After obtaining a law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Canada, Reem decided to pursue a career that integrated her interested in technology, media and business development.A self-proclaimed social "buzz-terfly", Reem is the founder of (The Middle East's first film production portal), the New Media Specialist at Boomtown Productions and the Agency Principal at Globious She is also the first female technology blogger in the UAE and is an Expert Author on She specializes in digital marketing consultancy and she focuses on serving online development needs of small and medium-sized businesses in the Middle East and Canada. She also has a number of clients who work in the film industry (pre and post-production). You can add her on Linkedin or follow her on twitter @reemhameed