Social Media in the Middle East: The Story of 2016

16 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2017

See all articles by Damian Radcliffe

Damian Radcliffe

University of Oregon, School of Journalism and Communication; Cardiff University, School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies; The Tow Center for Digital Journalism part of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University

Date Written: December 7, 2016

Abstract

This report is the fifth in a series of annual reports which captures key developments and data related to usage of social media in the Middle East.

The past year has seen the continued growth of visual-led social networks, especially in the more affluent Gulf region. Meanwhile, the discernible growth in mobile social users ( 66% notes the creative agency We Are Social) emphasizes the increasing primacy of the mobile social experience. For many users, mobile is the only way that they interact with social networks. Mobile platforms, for millions in the region, will also offer their first online experience.

Recognizing this, companies like Facebook have launched Facebook Lite, an Android app targeting users on slow networks (and with small data plans). Their Free Basics program allows customers on the Zain network in Jordan and AsiaCell, Korek and Zain in Iraq avoid data charges when using Facebook on their mobile devices. Will other providers follow suit?

Yet, for all the positives, the social experience in some parts of the region remains beset with challenges. Networks and services can be blocked – both temporarily and permanently – and issues around freedom of expression persist.

These dimensions, alongside growth stories and statistics, are explored in this paper.

Keywords: Social Media, Social Networking, Arab Spring, Middle East, MENA, Middle East and North Africa, Arab World, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp, Mobile, YouTube, Video Content, Media Habits, Media Consumption, Social News, Second Screen, Internet Governance, Network Society

Suggested Citation

Radcliffe, Damian, Social Media in the Middle East: The Story of 2016 (December 7, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3043011

Damian Radcliffe (Contact Author)

University of Oregon, School of Journalism and Communication ( email )

1280 University of Oregon
Eugene, OR 97403
United States

HOME PAGE: http://journalism.uoregon.edu/member/radcliffe-damian/

Cardiff University, School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies ( email )

Aberconway Building
Colum Drive
Cardiff, Wales CF10 3EU
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/people/view/201298-radcliffe-damian

The Tow Center for Digital Journalism part of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

HOME PAGE: http://towcenter.org/academics/damian-radcliffe/

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