Social networks

Similarly to the rest of the Middle East, Facebook and WhatsApp are the most popular social media in Iraq; Facebook statistics show that the number of users in Iraq has increased by 35 percent in the last six months of 2012, reaching around 2.7 million in early 2013. According to the BBG-Gallup 2016 survey, 46 percent of Iraqi Kurds turn to Facebook at least once a week to read the news, making of Zuckerberg’s social network one of the top five news sources in the autonomous region. According to, the most popular Iraqi TV station on Facebook is Al-Baghdadiya (which ranks 7th among all Iraqi Facebook pages worldwide), followed by the Kurdish news website Xendan and Rudaw, the latest KDP-funded media network launched in 2013. As-Sumaria TV is the most visited profile on Twitter. Outside the KRG, YouTube seems on the rise as a news source with 19 percent of Iraqi Arabs accessing the website at least once a week, in comparison with only 9 percent of the Kurds (BBG-Gallup 2016). Nevertheless, the BBC Media Action 2012 survey reported that only 8 percent of respondents in the nine southern provinces had accessed the Internet in the last month. Moreover, 76 percent said they had never used a computer in their life. The relevance of social networks in terms of opinion making and agenda setting is therefore still limited and the ongoing conflict continues to deprive many residents of any web access, thus complicating more detailed assessments.