Facebook is the most popular social media in the UAE, receiving a staggering 87 per cent of the total visits to all social networking websites, says the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority or TRA.
"Facebook was by far the most popular site with a total of 13.2 billion visits, representing 87 per cent of the total visits, to all social networking websites during the period April 1 to June 303," the telecom watchdog said, in its market data for the second quarter of 2013.
TRA said visits to Twitter came second, with 11 per cent of the total visits (1.7 billion) and LinkedIn with 282 million.
The rise in the usage of Facebook has been triggered by the popularity of smartphones -- where the Arab world has one of the highest levels of ownership. The public and private sectors have capitalised on it for achieving their corporate objectives that's why a nation the size of the UAE had more than 13 billion visits in just three months.
The release of market data by the authority adds credence to recent reports that predict continued rapid growth of the UAE's consumer electronics industry reaching $3.97 billion by 2015.
The TRA research also ties in with the importance surrounding the recently launched UAE m-Government initiative that will see the majority of government services made accessible via smartphones.
Chief executive officer at Grayling, a public relations firm in Dubai, and social media expert, Loretta Ahmed, said that freedom of expression was a key element in boosting the usage of social media in the UAE and that it's also reflective of the affluence of the UAE market-availability of technology is increasing exponentially-and so therefore is usage of the medium it allows.
"Social media is not a new publishing medium, it's an opportunity for two-way dialogue and its successful usage by companies, governments and individuals comes down to providing smart content and engagement," she said.
Director of Government Communications and Community at the Emirates Identity Authority Amer Al Mahri, agreed with the growing use of Facebook in the country.
Sharing his experience using the social media site for corporate purposes, he said from May 2012, the numbers of followers on Emirates ID's social pages have grown phenomenally from 1,000 to over 50,000, as of today.
"With 73 per cent penetration, Internet usage in the UAE is currently exceeding both Mena and worldwide averages which stand at 41 per cent and 51 per cent, respectively," says Mohamed Nasser Al Ghanim, Director-General, TRA.
The findings derived from the TRA's latest piece of research shows how healthy the UAE mobile sector is when compared to our counterparts across the globe," he said.
The authority, which has its strong presence on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, is planning to go for Instagram shortly.
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