Twitter users in Arab world increase by 85%

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The number of Twitter users in the Arab world has leapt by 85 percent to 3.7 million in the last year, with over half of all active users of the site based in Saudi Arabia, according to new research.

The Arab Social Media report, released on Saturday by the Dubai School of Government (DSG), also reveals that the kingdom is also the source of 47 percent of all tweets in the region.

Twitter has gained huge popularity in the kingdom as it allows Saudis a public forum in which to debate a range of issues, including politics and religion.

In March, local media reported that the Saudi government could attempt ban anonymity for Twitter users in the country.

The number of Arabic-language tweets sent has risen sharply in the previous year, reaching 74 percent of the total, up from 64 percent.

Kuwait was the most penetrated country in the region in terms of Twitter usage. Nearly 8 percent of the population is an active user of the website, compared to 6.4 percent for Saudi Arabia.

Facebook has also seen a strong rise in regional take-up, with active users increasing by 22 percent to 55 million over the course of the year.

The UAE is the largest market for Facebook in terms of penetration; 41 percent of the population are active users of the site. Egypt constitutes one quarter of all regional Facebook users in the region.

The report also revealed that there are 4.7 million active LinkedIn users in 22 countries covered by the DSG survey, a  10 percent gain on the previous year.

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