01/10/2014, 00.00
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Twitter's growth among Saudi users "highest in the world"

A study shows that the number of users rose by 45 per cent between 2012 and 2013. Religious figures have the most followers. Fundamentalist theologian Mohammad al-Arefi ranks first with 7.5 million followers, but three moderate Muslims follow.

Riyadh (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The Twitter's growth among Saudi Internet users is "the highest in the world," this according to a study released by The Social Clinic in cooperation with The Loft Creative Hub. The survey also shows a remarkable jump in the use of mobiles to access various social media accounts.

The report shows that the number of Saudi Facebook users went from six million in 2012 to 7.8 million in 2013, with five million accessing it from mobile devices.

The number of Twitter users jumped from three to five million, an increase of 45 per cent in the same period. Tweets from the Kingdom averaged 150 million a month, 85 per cent in Arabic with religious figures have the largest following.

Mohammad al-Arefi, a fundamentalist theologian famous throughout the Arab world, tops the list with 7.5 million followers.

Aid al-Qarni comes in second place with over 5.1 million followers. The writer-preacher belongs to a moderate wing of Islam.

Ahammad al-Shugairi follows with 5 million followers. While not formally a religious scholar, the writer and TV presenter talks about religion, from openly moderate positions.

Salman al-Odah has about four million followers. A member of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, he became famous in the Islamic world for his criticism of the 9/11 attack and for blaming Osama bin Laden in 2007.

According to the study, 74 per cent of Facebook users are men. Whilst the largest age group is between 26 and 34, only 49 percent of content is written in Arabic.

LinkedIn remains less popular but in 2013, its numbers rose to a million users, up from 800,000 the previous year.

YouTube remains the kingdom's preferred video site with 90 million daily viewed videos per day, like in 2012. On average, each Internet user in the Kingdom watched seven videos per day.

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