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Though young Arabs browse social media for news, they don't trust such sources, the survey suggests. Photo for illustrative purpose only. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: Social media comprises the largest – yet ironically less trusted – source of news among Arab youth, says the 13th Annual ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey released today.

Almost two-thirds (61 per cent) of young Arabs (aged 18 to 24) use social media for news – far ahead of TV channels (43 per cent), other online sources (34 per cent) or newspapers (nine per cent).

Matter of trust

Yet, social media is less trusted by Arab youth compared to the other three sources, polled as part of the overall survey of 3,400 youth in 17 countries in the region.

Only 26 per cent of the youth say social media is a ‘very trustworthy’ source of news, compared to other online news portals (28 per cent), newspapers (32 per cent) and TV channels (46 per cent).

Always online?

Unsurprisingly, the majority of youth (67 per cent) often find it difficult to disconnect from social media. Only eight per cent said they have no trouble logging off.

What they bought

While online, shopping is a main activity for the youth, with three in four (75 per cent) of Arab youth having purchased a product or service online in the last year.

Most purchases (53 per cent) were for food, followed by clothes/fashion (45 per cent) and then electronics (27 per cent).

‘Largest study’

The Arab Youth Survey is said to be the largest study of its kind of the Arab world’s largest demographic – its 200 million-plus youth.

The 13th edition, themed ’Hope for the Future’, was conducted by international research firm PSB Insights, of young Arabs in 50 cities and territories in 17 states in the Middle East and North Africa region.

The face-to-face interviews were conducted by “professional interviewers” from June 6 to 30, covering 3,400 young Arabs aged 18 to 24. All interviewees were nationals of their country.

The sample split was 50:50 male/female. The survey covered five of the six GCC states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE); North Africa (Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia); and the Levant (Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestinian Territories, Syria and Yemen).