This is the first in a series of ten short extracts from my 2015 round-up: Social Media in the Middle East: The Story of 2015 (also available on Scribd, SlideShare and Academia.edu + the UNESCO Media Literacy Portal).
“As of today, one billion people are using WhatsApp,” says the official WhatsApp blog.
Given this stat – which means that “nearly one in seven people on Earth who use WhatsApp each month to stay in touch with their loved ones, their friends and their family,” this platform seems an excellent place to start with recapping some of the developments in the MENA region from the past year.
- WhatsApp, the popular messaging service, is now the leading social media platform in Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and UAE, according to data from Northwestern University in Qatar.[i] The network was purchased by Facebook in 2014 for $19 billion. Facebook also owns Instagram.
- WhatsApp is also the preferred social media channel for 41% of social media users in the region, research presented by TNS – at the Arab Social Media Influencers Summit in March 2015 – found.[ii]
- 70% of Israelis say WhatsApp is the “mobile app they would not be able to do without.” This is up from 54% in 2013 – a survey by Bezeq, the largest telecommunications group in Israel, reported.[iii]
Top 3 social media platforms in six select countries, Northwestern University in Qatar