The use of popular social media sites Facebook and Twitter has been on a decline in Arab countries like the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, a recent study found.
However, usage of photo sharing app Instagram has been growing in the last three years, the study by Northwestern University in Qatar found.
The study attributed the popularity of Instagram to the surge in smartphone ownership in the region, with the UAE having the highest per capita of smartphone users.
“With the high smartphone penetration in the Middle East, these devices in our pockets have caused a shift in communication, from words to images. With 80 million photos posted to Instagram everyday, if something is happening, it’s likely to be posted on Instagram,” said Instagram’s brand development lead Amy Cole.
In the UAE specifically, the app boasts up to 1.72 million active users. And not surprisingly, the most popular users are beauty bloggers (a worldwide trend) and the royal family.
First on the list is beauty blogger Huda Kattan (@hudabeauty) who posts makeup tutorials and beauty inspiration pictures. In the second spot is Dubai’s Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum (@faz3) who offers followers a glimpse into his life.
Here are the top 10 Instagram users (excluding actors and singers) in the UAE, based on the number of followers.
1. Huda Kattan – @hudabeauty
13.3 million followers
2. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum – @faz3
3.5 million followers
Dubai Crown Prince
3. Khalifa Al Maamari – @5k
2.5 million followers
4. Abdulaziz Al Jasmi – @bin_baz
2.9 million followers
5. Taim Al Falasi – @taimalfalasi
1.9 million followers
Travel and lifestyle blogger
6. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum – @hhshkmohd
1.6 million followers
Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai
7. Dubai – @dubai
1.4 million followers
Official Dubai Tourism page
8. Roaa Al Sabban – @roaa_alsabban
1 million followers
TV personality, actress and presenter
9. Sheikha Shaikha bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum – @sh_mrm
Daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
10. Laura Badura – @laurabadura
Fashion and beauty blogger