SHAFAQNA (Shia News Association) — Arabic-speaking Facebook users want the social networking website to add an “Insha’Allah” button to the platform for the Middle East. And Facebook seems ready to make the move to boost its regional presence.
According to Immanuel Simonsen from Multilingual Search, “Facebook has identified a strong wish from Arabic natives to include an “Insha’Allah” (Arabic term meaning “God Willing” that indicates hope for an aforementioned event to occur in the future) button for Facebook events.”
While Facebook may not be the most popular social media network in the Arab world, this addition “looks to be the first new localized feature for the Arabic market.”
Social networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, played a fundamental role in organizing the uprisings throughout the Arab World in 2011. Usage of these networks is growing exponentially as political changes continue to take place.
“A recent infographic about Facebook users in Arabic countries shows there’s still plenty of growth potential in the social media space throughout the region,” said Simonsen.
According to the Arab Social Media Report from the Dubai School of Government, “by the end of 2011, Arab users’ utilization of social media had evolved to encompass civic engagement, political participation, entrepreneurial efforts, and social change. ”
Between September 2011 and March 2012 the number of active Twitter users has gone up dramatically. According to the report there were 1,311,882 active Twitter users in the Arab world in March 2012.
Despite the increase in Twitter, Facebook seems to be more popular. In fact, there are 43 million Arab users on Facebook, and the number is continuing to grow. Of the total, 66 percent of these users are male and 34 percent are female.
The most drastic increase of Facebook usage was in Egypt. In September 2011, Egypt had a total of 8,791,800 users, compared to 10,643,740 users in May 2012.
“However small this current adding, it’s indicative of Facebook now actively trying to adapt its product to better reflect and accommodate the specific needs of the Arabic world, and representatives from Facebook Arabia have already made it very clear that this is just the first of many alterations to come,” says Simonsen.—www.shafaqna.com/english/