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Facebook a hit in Middle East-North Africa

Oct. 2, 2013 at 6:47 PM
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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- About 56 million people in the Middle East and North Africa are active on Facebook, Jonathan Labin, regional head of the social network, says.

Approximately 28 million people use the social network on a daily basis, Labin told Gulfnews.com.

Many of those users are active ones, returning to the website on a daily basis, he said.

Data released by Facebook Tuesday indicated 33 million people in the Middle East-North Africa region use a cellphone or tablet computer to access the network each month and estimated the number of daily users at 14 million.

"People in the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council countries] are particularly well-connected with a mobile connectivity rate of 196 percent -- an average of two SIM cards per person," Facebook said in a statement from its Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters.

The number of people connecting to Facebook from mobile devices has been increasing, Labin said.

"The high level of mobile use is also interesting as we have worked to optimize the Facebook experience on as many devices as possible. Research has shown that people who access Facebook from a phone or tablet tend to be even more engaged that those on desktop, whether that is interacting with friends and family or connecting with the places and businesses that they care about," he said.

More Facebook users means more opportunities for advertisers, he said.

"We are seeing an increase in the number of advertisers who are turning to Facebook to get their message to the people who matter most."

Facebook opened regional headquarters in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in May 2012.

Activists in the region used the social network to garner support for the Arab Spring uprisings.

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