Saudi Arabia has 2.4 million active Twitter users, the highest number in the region, according to a survey issued on Wednesday.
The sixth edition of the Arab Social Media Report was launched on Wednesday by the Governance and Innovation Program at the Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government.
The Kingdom accounts for 40 percent of all active Twitter users in the Arab world. There are 5.79 million active Twitter users in the region as of March 2014. An “active user” is someone who logs in once a month, according to Twitter.
Saudi Arabia has more than twice the number of users than second-placed Egypt. However, Egypt gained the largest number of new users since last year, at 571,000, compared to Saudi Arabia’s 514,000.
According to the survey, 55 percent of respondents said they strongly support the government’s use of social media for the design and delivery of public services. Respondents also agreed that social media facilitates better accessibility to government and public sector officials.
A report entitled “Citizen Engagement and Public Services in the Arab World: The Potential of Social Media,” states that social media is still used in the Arab region as a one-way information source for the majority of those who use it to interact with government.
Only 2 percent of respondents reported visiting official government social media pages or using their personal social media accounts for sourcing information on public services.
Of the 63 percent who do use government social media pages, 74 percent only use it to access information on government services and entities, while giving feedback, sending complaints or new ideas to government ranked lower.
The report shows that the public sector in a majority of Arab countries continues to “suffer from mounting deficiencies in terms of quality, efficiency and accessibility of government services despite the continued growth of social media penetration in the Arab region and its increasing potential for governments to engage citizens on enhancing public services.”