Social media gave Arab Spring protesters an assist

Arab youth are crediting social media as the leading tool for helping them during the Arab Spring, according to Burson-Marsteller's Penn Schoen Berland firm.

Arab youth are crediting social media as the leading tool for helping them gain support during last year's “Arab Spring,” when demonstrations swept through the Middle East and North Africa, according to Burson-Marsteller's Penn Schoen Berland firm.

Protesters forced rulers from power in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen during the Arab Spring. Other governments put reforms into action.

The study found that 58% of respondents believe Facebook helped the Arab Spring gain support, more than TV news (33%), political parties (17%), and newspapers (22%). Nearly three-quarters of Middle Eastern youth believe their governments have become more trustworthy and transparent since the uprisings.

More youth in the Middle East are also reading or writing blogs, with 61% saying they blog, up from only 29% last year. Burson also found that more young consumers in the region are updating themselves on news and current affairs every day, with that number jumping from 18% in 2011 to 52% this year.

This is the fourth time the firm released survey results based on interviews with Arab consumers between the ages of 18 and 24 in various Middle Eastern countries including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Egypt, and Iraq. About 2,500 people were interviewed by international polling firm Penn Schoen Berland.

A representative from Burson-Marsteller's Dubai office could not be reached for comment.

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