Social networks

WhatsApp and Facebook are the most used social media channels across Syria, with almost the totality of social media users who are current subscribers to WhatsApp. According to 2015 Arab Social Media Report (ASMR), even in a country with a comparably small penetration rate such as Syria, users are still adopting Facebook at a higher scale than the world’s top ten countries. Facebook overshadows all other social media tools, with a number of users surpassing 6 million people. However, the use of Facebook remains more personal and, where information is transacted, it is primarily consumed and not produced. Proactive civic engagement is less than common. In fact, if most respondents to the 2016 Audience Research (FPU et al) never or rarely participate in online discussion forums, post an article or comment on a blog or news articles online; on the other hand the audience feels relatively more comfortable acting or reacting on social media: A higher share of respondents declares often or always posting articles (45 percent), photos (45 percent), or videos (34 percent).

The total number of active Twitter users in Syria has reached 136,000 users (ASMR, March 2014). As officially defined by Twitter, an “active user” is someone who logs in (but does not necessarily tweets) once a month. The current subscription rates for Twitter is therefore very low (14 percent), but, despite such a scarce Twitter penetration, users are apparently very active, because the daily usage in the country is among the highest in the Arab world. ASMR findings indicate that roughly a third of Syrian users (30 percent) are females, which is lower than the global average, where females make up 59 percent of users.