Dubai: Randi Zuckerberg, director of marketing development of Facebook and sister of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, said that the Middle East accounts for a substantial amount of the website's userbase.
"About 15 per cent of our active users are from the Middle East," she said during a presentation.
"There are plans in place for us to focus more heavily on the region," she said. Zuckerberg was among four speakers who took part in the Gitex Global Leaders Summit.
There are 500 million active Facebook users around the world, with 50 per cent logging on to their Facebook profiles everyday. In the UAE, there are two million active users, Zuckerberg said.
His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is among the top global leaders using social media today, Zuckerberg said.
Advertising comprises the biggest share of the website's revenues. However, when asked how much revenue the company was making out of the Middle East region, Zuckerberg did not give a number. According to the company's most recent statistics, there are 200 million people using Facebook on their mobile phones.
"We're seeing countries like Indonesia, where 100 per cent of the population is using mobile phones, having Facebook penetration," she said. "Mobile is going to be increasingly important to us in countries like India and areas like Africa where people will be bypassing computers altogether."
Privacy concerns were raised by some members of the audience regarding the sharing of users' data with outside parties such as governments. "We have a strict policy for not sharing information," she said.
"The only thing that we have as a business is our trust. The second we violate that trust our business goes down, so there would be no way that we would ever violate the trust of our users sharing their data outside their permission because that would be the end of our business."
By law, Facebook is required in certain countries to share information if there's an inquiry into criminal activity. "Otherwise, we're definitely not in any way passing information to any governments," she said.
Since 70 per cent of Facebook users are based outside the US, Zuckerberg said that the company has tried to be sensitive about local laws in certain countries.