That link is to a BBC story. You can find the summary from Spot On Public Relations (a Dubai-based PR firm) here. The full report in PDF is here. (And yes, the PR firm is on Facebook.)
Some of their findings from their website:
— MENA’s top five Facebook country markets, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, account for 70% of all users in the region.
— 50% of MENA Facebook users have selected their primary language for using Facebook as English, with 25% preferring French and just 23% Arabic.
— Only 37% of Facebook users in MENA are female (compared with 56% in the USA and 52% in the UK). Only Bahrain and Lebanon Facebook communities approach gender equality with female users accounting for about 44% of total users.
— The GCC has five million Facebook users, which Saudi Arabia and the UAE representing 45% and 31% of that total respectively.
— North Africa has 7.7 million Facebook users, with Egypt accounting for 3.4 million users (or 44% of all North Africa users). Egypt has the largest Facebook community in MENA.
— Francophone countries Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia together account for 3.7 million French speaking Facebook users, equivalent to nearly 25% of all MENA users.
As the BBC report notes, the study doesn’t go into how many of these users are using Facebook: political activisim gets a lot of attention but presumably there’s a lot of the same kind of social chatter we see in the West; the Middle Easterners I’m linked to on Facebook seem all over the place in what they post.
And of course, if you equate the sale of one copy of a newspaper with its having one reader, you’ve never been in a Middle Eastern coffeehouse.