Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is know for its social network. The social paradigm that allows people from hundreds or thousands of miles away, or people who hadn’t known each other or been together in 20 years, can reconnect and share stories in a way where time, distance and space come together. On Facebook, users can catch up on the latest news from a favorite family or a favorite sports team or a favorite brand. They can learn about births, weddings, divorces and deaths.
And apparently in the Middle East, according to some recent research, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) can also be a trusted source for other more worldly relevant hard news. Some research conducted by Northwestern University in Qatar (yes the Illinois university has a campus in the Middle East) revealed that among people in eight different Middle Eastern countries, Facebook was the third-most trusted outlet for news in the region, behind only Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya. Overall, the region has a mistrust of “traditional” media, with only 48 percent of research subjects in the area having a positive response to traditional media news coverage. In three countries, that positive vibe was felt by no more than a fourth of all respondents.
The breakdown is interesting. Al-Jazeera was the favorite news outlet among 26 percent of all respondents in the eight countries, with Al-Arabiya coming in second at 16 percent and Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) third with 10 percent. Among other outlets, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) was sixth with 6 percent of the respondents, and MTV (?!!) was ninth with 5 percent.
But even more interesting was the breakout by country, as it seems that different countries had different tastes and different levels of trust among the top outlets. While Al-Jazeera led the overall polling as the most-trusted outlet, it was only the top pick in three of the eight countries surveyed (Qatar, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates). Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) was the preferred choice of 26 percent of respondents in Bahrain, and Faceboook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) won a majority of responses in Tunisia with 52 percent of them choosing the social network as their best source of news.
How did the Bahrain and Tunisia markets break down to explain Facebook and Google “victories” there?