WhatsApps dominates in the Middle East, according to a new study by Northwestern University in Qatar. The multi-billion dollar messaging platform is more popular than Facebook in Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Delving deep into the Internet and media habits of Arabs, the study polled 6,093 participants in in Egypt, Lebanon, Qatar Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates, concluding that the Arab world has closed the digital divide, except for in Egypt.
Almost all of the users polled in UAE, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Qatar use WhatsApp. The messaging platform is less common in Egypt and Tunisia, where Facebook is the dominant social media platform.
Together, Facebook and WhatsApp are the most dominant social media platforms in the region, with consistent usage across all ages and genders. Interest in Twitter and Google+ has fallen, while Instagram has surged.
Although the rise of Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram is not necessarily surprising given the meteoric rise of these platforms around the world, what should come as especially interesting is that the use of media in English has decreased among all age groups, falling from 41 percent to 33 percent. Although the study did not link this directly to the use of Internet, they did say that the consumption of media in English was especially decreased for Internet users.