United Arab Emirates: social network penetration Q3 2017

As of January 2018, the leading social media platform in the United Arab Emirates was WhatsApp with a penetration rate of 83 percent. This was closely followed by Facebook with a penetration rate of 82 percent and YouTube with 79 percent.

User demographic

   The total number of social media users in the United Arab Emirates was 9.4 million. Facebook users in the United Arab Emirates are broken down by 74.5 percent women compared to 25.5 percent men. The user demographic of Facebook in the United Arab Emirates is quite balanced with 49.2 percent of users between the age of 15 and 29 years old and 50.8 percent above the age of 30 years. The younger a social media user is, the more likely they source news and information on current affairs through social media in the Middle East and North Africa.

 Legal limitation of social media usage in the United Arab Emirates 

   Tough, WhatsApp, Skype and Facebook messenger are the leading social media platforms in the United Arab Emirates, there are strong restrictions on messenger and VOIP application imposed on their usage by the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA). Free video and voice calls on instant messengers are still blocked in the UAE. This is mainly an issue for expatriates living in the United Arab Emirates, who want to contact friends and family in their home country, which makes it still very costly for them. .

Penetration of leading social networks in the United Arab Emirates as of 3rd quarter 2017

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Release date

January 2018


United Arab Emirates

Survey time period

Q2 and Q3 2017

Age group

16 to 64 years

Supplementary notes

Data base been re-based to show national penetration.
Self-claimed activity.

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