JEDDAH — The number of Twitter users in Saudi Arabia increased by 3,000 percent in June, making the Kingdom the biggest growth market for the social network, the site’s CEO Dick Costolo said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
Half of the Kingdom’s active users log in daily while more than 50 percent access the micro blogging site via their smartphone, he said.
The number of people using social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter has soared in the wake of last year’s Arab Spring protests, becoming popular platforms for coordinating rallies and disseminating news and information quickly.
Arabic accounts for 1.2 percent of all public tweets, while the number of tweets in the language over the last year has increased 2,146 percent, according to Paris-based firm Semiocast.Allowing pseudonyms on Twitter has helped protect demonstrators’ identities during the Arab Spring, Costolo said."We are a particularly well-suited platform for things like political speech because we allow pseudonyms," he told the newspaper.
But there are two sides to that coin, he added. "It can end up being a place that’s easier for people to hide behind hate speech," he said. "We have to be thoughtful about all that." — SG