The latest social media stats for consumer adoption and usage of social networking platforms in the Middle East & Africa (MENA)

This week saw the publication of a new report, “How the Middle East Used Social Media in 2020,” produced in partnership with the New Media Academy in Dubai, and offering the most up to date — and comprehensive — look at the trends that shaped social media in the MENA region last year.

My co-author Hadil Abuhmaid and I consulted more than 200 different sources — from academics, news releases, interviews, media and event coverage, as well as studies produced by agencies and brands — to provide a data-rich evidence base outlining the latest trends in social media habits and…


The study can be used as a guide for individuals and institutions to enhance their digital content on social media platforms

Media Release for “How the Middle East Used Social Media in 2020” a new report (free to download) out now in English and Arabic.

Report Highlights

  • Over 200 sources of information were curated for this report
  • 79% of Arab Youth consider social media a primary news source, with a 25% increase from 2015
  • 65% increase for TikTok GCC influencers’ fanbase between February and August 2020
  • 5 hours a day is the average time spent on Social Media by users in the Middle East
  • UAE users have over 10 accounts on social media platforms
  • Egypt is the 9th largest market for Facebook in the world with 44 million users
  • Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Egypt are among the 13 largest markets for Snapchat worldwide
  • Google, WhatsApp and YouTube…

The pandemic rapidly upended journalistic norms and created a series of unprecedented challenges

Journalists during a press conference. EPA-EFE/Mauricio Duenas Castaneda Via International Press Institute.

The impact of COVID-19 on newsrooms was as rapid as it was sudden. As Hannah Storm, Director of the Ethical Journalism Network pointed out during the earlier stages of the pandemic: “News organisations had to reinvent decades of working practices in days.”

“Nothing compares with the events of recent weeks in terms of the global impact on media around the world of COVID-19 and the unprecedented scale of the story, and the demands it is making on our journalism and on us as journalists.”

Not surprisingly, given the all-encompassing nature of the pandemic, it has left an indelible mark on…


A new report from the Thomson Reuters Foundation gives voice to journalists around the world and their experiences during the pandemic — here are seven key findings.

This is an extract from a new report on The Impact of COVID-19 on Journalism in Emerging Economies and the Global South, published by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

COVID-19 is a generation-defining pandemic, impacting families and communities in every country on the planet. In this report, we explore the consequences of the COVID crisis on journalism in developing economies and the Global South.

To help us do this, 55 alumni of training programmes run by the Thomson Reuters Foundation (TRF) shared their experiences about living — and working — in the COVID era. …


Silicon Valley’s latest digital darling is tapping into the creativity, intimacy, and authenticity that audio can deliver

Google “What is Clubhouse?” and you’ll find a flurry of articles written in the past few weeks about this fast-growing social network. It’s not yet a year old, and much of the buzz stems from the fact that Clubhouse is invite-only, bringing with it an element of exclusivity.

Clubhouse’s key attribute is its medium: audio, which sets it apart from established social media and messaging services like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, WhatsApp and YouTube that use text, photos, video or a mix. Clubhouse combines the structure of old-school text chatrooms with the immediacy and emotion of the human voice.

The social…


Insights from Thomson Reuters Foundation’s Alum in emerging economies and the Global South

A journalist talks to the camera on Paseo de la Reforma avenue amid the lockdown in Mexico City on April 6, 2020 [Reuters/Carlos Jasso]

“Newsgathering has been hit by unprecedented challenges at a time when the whole news media info system was already under significant pressure,” says Antonio Zappulla, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation (TRF). “Quite simply we are living in a different world than we were exactly 12 months ago.”

Zappulla’s remarks were made at an event to launch TRF’s new report on The Impact of COVID-19 on Journalism in Emerging Economies and the Global South, a study which explores the challenges faced by journalists around the world and how they’re navigating the difficulties of reporting in the COVID-era.

At the heart…


In 2018, 395 million people watched eSports. By 2023, viewership is anticipated to have grown to 646 million viewers around the world, with MENA a key market for this potential growth.

Promotional image for Zain esports, via Facebook.

eSports is one of the world’s fastest growing tech and entertainment industries, with audiences and revenues alike on the rise. Although COVID-19 has inevitably had an impact, the global eSports market is expected to be worth nearly $1.6 billion in 2023 up from $776 million in 2018, according to researchers.

And although much of the growth is driven by major markets like North America and China, the Middle East is also playing a role in the eSports boom.

“The Middle East is a fast-growing gaming market, evolving from casual gaming to virtual reality games and competitive sports. With a growing…


Webinar with the Foreign Press Association

Will Church, Head of Journalism and Media Programmes at the Thomson Reuters Foundation (TRF), and I, joined Ian Williams of the Foreign Press Association USA to discuss the new TRF report on The impact of COVID-19 on Journalism in Emerging Economies and the Global South.

Across the world, the virus has affected media as well as the health of journalists. The pandemic has driven fake news and evoked a surge of threats against the media in emerging economies.

Sent out to cover the epidemic, hundreds of our colleagues have died, others have been threatened by governments and proprietors for reporting…


The MENA region is in the middle of a digital transformation, which 2020 and COVID-19 has only accelerated

Image of The Line, a 170-kilometre urban development in Saudi Arabia that will be entirely powered by renewable energy via Twitter

The MENA region is in the middle of a digital transformation, which 2020 and COVID-19 has only accelerated. I asked five experts to share the tech trends they see influencing the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) this year, with digital payments, greater investment in AI and mobile, coupled with the need for greater focus on cybersecurity, all getting a mention.

A look into big projects ahead

Among the things to look out for on the Middle East tech scene in 2021 is the Expo 2020 event, which is due to take place in Dubai in the UAE for six months starting from October says Matthew…


How is #COVID19 affecting those on whom we depend for critical, balanced and accurate information?

A new report containing the voices of journalists working across the Global South and Emerging Economies, highlighting the challenges faced by the profession during the pandemic, is released today by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

It is the first such study combining in-depth research into the insights of industry leaders, advocates and media experts with the first-hand experiences of reporters on-the-ground in these regions, to explore the major issues impacting the profession.

The 55 contributing journalists, who are alumni of the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s training programmes, are from 26 countries including Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Romania and the Philippines. Their insights…

Damian Radcliffe

Chambers Professor in Journalism @uoregon | Fellow @TowCenter @CardiffJomec @theRSAorg | Write @wnip @ZDNet | Host Demystifying Media podcast https://itunes.app

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