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A recent survey published by Facebakers, a site that provides information on Facebook statistics and applications, revealed that 36% of the UAE’s population is registered on Facebook, making it the leader in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, followed by Qatar with 29% penetration.

Surprisingly, leading the list globally is Iceland with 61%, followed by Norway with 53% and Canada with 47%.

According to Business24-7’s online report, out of the 1.6 million users registered across the UAE, 63% are male and 37 % females. In comparison, the US has a Facebook penetration of 40.76% where female users make up 56% of registered users, compared to 44 % male. Facebook has also also attracted various business and government organisations to open their communication portal, with dedicated pages.

“These statistics highlight a global movement towards social media as a means to disseminate information and communicate with the world. It also portrays Facebook as one of the leaders in this segment,” Jean-Renaud Durbin, general manager at Thecontent|Factory, a Dubai-based integrated marketing communications agency, was quoted as saying. “We have witnessed the real strength in using social media platforms to energise our clients’ businesses quickly and cost effectively,” he added.

Social media platforms are closing the information gap between the east and west, and north and south. The Middle East and specifically the UAE is fast catching up with more technologically advanced countries, including the US and the UK.

“Facebook in the UAE has seen its users grow by 11 % over the last six months. Therefore, it is even more important to follow an integrated communications approach in terms of distribution in order to reach the right audiences at the right time,” said Durbin.

Facebook has also announced plans to embark on a massive advertising campaign for luring advertisers on its site. For this, a regional company ConnectAds was appointed by Facebook to sell advertising space.

With offices in four cities in the region and headquartered in Cairo, ConnectAds intends to cover 15 of the main countries of the region. “Our reach is in all the major Arab-speaking nations of the region, and we cover 15 markets including Pakistan,” according to Mohammed El Mehairy, managing director for Connect Ads.

According to recent statistics published by Business Monitor International, the UAE’s internet penetration has reached 54.3 % with the total number of internet users expected to reach 3.77 million by 2013.

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