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Tue 30 Sep 2008 06:22 AM

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UAE second in world list for online social networking

37% of local web surfers say they have more friends online than in real life.

UAE second in world list for online social networking
SOCIAL SCENE: Websites like Facebook are hugely popular among young people in the UAE. (Getty Images)

A survey has revealed that UAE internet users have the second highest rate of membership of social networking sites in the world.

Research by market intelligence firm, Synovate - involving 13,000 people between the ages of 18 and 65 - showed the Gulf country was second only to the Netherlands, where 49 percent said they were members of sites like Facebook.

The UAE came second with 46 percent, ahead of Canada with 44 percent and the US on 40 percent, compared to a global average rate of 26 percent.

UAE social networkers also ranked among the most prolific, in terms of the amount of users who sign up for multiple social networks, and 37 percent of respondents in the UAE also said they have more friends online than in the real world.

Commenting on the figures, Synovate's managing director for the UAE, George Christodoulides, said that the popularity of social networking in the country made sense. “It is a place that's very connected to the world; a hub for cultures, business and people.

"These sites also offer a way for people to meet - online - in a society where traditionally men and women don't always mix freely."

Meanwhile, despite reports to the contrary, YouTube is still available online in Kuwait, although new instructions on blocking the site have been issued by authorities.

According to reports, the popular video sharing website was banned last week by the Ministry of Communications, although the site appeared to have been given a reprieve when the Minister was said to have rescinded the order after internal discussions.

Now, it is understood that the Ministry has issued a new order to "block certain specific links within Youtube.com".

The official paper which has been circulated to ISPs, gives a five page list of specific URLs and key words that are to be blocked, mostly concerning sexual content.

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rasha 9 years ago

i also want to report the contrary, youtube is available in the uae and i dont remember it was ever blocked.

AJ 9 years ago

".........37 percent of respondents in the UAE also said they have more friends online than in the real world." - and somehow that's a good thing? "........in a society where traditionally men and women don't always mix freely." - so these societies are perfectly ok with men & women to mix as long as they can't physically see them mixing? ".........despite reports to the contrary, YouTube is still available online in Kuwait, although new instructions on blocking the site have been issued by authorities." - when was youtube ever a social networking website; I always thought it was a video hosting website? Is this article meant to hint in anyway that the people in the UAE are more internet savvy than others around the world? In my opinion, these statistics (if to be believed) only show that people in the UAE are not socially adept, that they are lazy & have plenty of free-time on their hands.

NI 9 years ago

@AJ: YouTube IS indeed a social media channel.