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Twitter Users

The total number of active Twitter users and tweet volume in each of the 22 Arab countries was estimated in the month of March 2014 using a Twitter API (application programming interface) specially developed for this research. The methodology used is detailed in Annex 1. Briefly, it consists of randomly sampling a certain number of Twitter users in each country captured across the month of March 2014, and using this sample to extrapolate and estimate the active Twitter population. The volume of tweets and top trends throughout March 2014 were also estimated.
 
Twitter in the Arab World: A Snapshot
 
·         The total number of active Twitter users in the Arab world reached 5,797,500 users as of March 2014.
 
·         The country with the highest number of active Twitter users in the Arab region is Saudi Arabia with 2.4 million users, accounting for over 40% of all active Twitter users in the Arab region.
 
·         The estimated number of tweets produced by Twitter users in the Arab world in March 2014 was 533,165,900 tweets, an average of 17,198,900 tweets per day.
 
·         Saudi Arabia, alone, produced 40% of all tweets in the Arab world, while Egypt produced 17% and Kuwait produced 10%.
 
·         The percentage of female Twitter users in the Arab region – published for the first time in the Arab Social Media Report series - is 36.6%, slightly higher than that of female Facebook users in the region.
 
 
Twitter Uptake in the Arab region
The total number of active Twitter users in the Arab world has reached 5,797,500 users as of March 2014. As officially defined by Twitter, an “active user” is someone who logs in (but does not necessarily tweets) once a month. The country with the highest number of active Twitter users in the region is Saudi Arabia. With 2.4 million users, which account for 40% of all active twitter users in the Arab region. Saudi Arabia has more than twice the number of users in Egypt; the country with the second highest number of active users. Egypt, however, has gained the largest number of new users since last year, with 571,000 new users, compared to Saudi Arabia’s slightly lower number of new users (514,000). The UAE, despite its relatively small population has over half a million active Twitter users, the third highest number in the region, and also the third highest number of new users gained last year (101,000) (Figures 32 and 33).
 
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Figure 32: No. of Active Twitter Users in the Arab Region (March 2014) - Countries with over 50,000 users
 
 
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Figure 33: No. of Active Twitter Users in the Arab Region (March 2014) - Countries with under 50,000 users
 
 
Despite the large number of Twitter users in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, these countries do not have the highest Twitter penetration rate in the region. Kuwait, a much smaller country, continues to enjoy the highest penetration rate with 11.4% of its population active on Twitter. In general, GCC countries have the highest penetration rates in the region. As with Facebook, we see an increase in the number of Arab countries joining the High Penetration bracket on Twitter, which has expanded to include Qatar and the UAE. Palestine and Egypt join Jordan and Lebanon this year as the only non-GCC countries with penetration rates above 1% of the population. Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, though still in the ‘developing’ bracket, have shown significant growth over the last year (Figures 34 and 35).
 
1.    High Penetration: These countries’ Twitter user penetration is above 5%, indicating a relatively high use of Twitter in their societies relative to other Arab countries.
2.    Emerging countries: These countries’ Twitter user penetration ranges from 1%-5%, indicating a medium penetration of Twitter users relative to other Arab countries.
3.    Developing: These countries have Twitter user penetration rates are under 1%.
 
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Figure 34: Twitter Penetration in the Arab Region (countries with more than 1% penetration) - March 2014
 
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Figure 35: Twitter Penetration in the Arab Region (countries with less than 1% penetration) - March 2014
 
 
Demographic Breakdown of Arab Twitter users:
 
For the first time in the Arab Social Media Report series, we publish the demographic breakdown of Twitter users in the Arab region. Our findings indicate that roughly over a third of Arab users (36.6%) are females. This is lower than the global average, where females make up 59% of users, but still represents a slightly higher percentage of females than Facebook in the region. As with Facebook, Lebanon continues to be the most gender balanced of the Arab countries, followed by Morocco, Algeria, Bahrain and Tunisia (Figure 36).
 
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Figure 36: Gender breakdown of Twitter users in the Arab Region - March 2014

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