Exploring Arab Media Group’s Motivations for Using Facebook

Abdul-Karim Ziani 1, Mokhtar Elareshi 2, Mokhtar Elareshi 2, Maha Alrashid 1
More Detail
1 Bahrain University, Bahrain
2 University of Tripoli, Libya
Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp. 88-111. https://doi.org/10.29333/ojcmt/2365
OPEN ACCESS   2035 Views   1240 Downloads   Published online: 24 Jan 2018
Download Full Text (PDF)


An online survey is reported that was carried out with more than 385 social media users aged 18 and over and extracted from nine Arab countries; Bahrain, Egypt, Algeria, Libya, Iraq, Kuwait, Syria, Jordan and Yemen. This research focuses on the use of Facebook by a selected group called Open Media Library (OML) which have interests in social media use. The aim of this research is to understand how and why users utilise Facebook and what their attitudes and perceptions are towards the purposes of Facebook. It examines how OML users utilise information and knowledge posted on Facebook, their preferred topics and motivations and the gratifications they obtained. Theoretical models of the purposes of Facebook usage in the literature were examined. As stated in the literature, this research confirms that Facebook can be used/defined as communication, collaboration and resource-sharing, as well as for intercultural communication and intercultural relationships. Curiosity and escapism, communication and experience, friendship and entertainment and identification of news and events are the main motivations for using Facebook. The findings are discussed in terms of their implications for the future of social media and its impacts on intercultural communication, media use and intercultural relationships.


Ziani, A.-K., Elareshi, M., Elareshi, M., & Alrashid, M. (2018). Exploring Arab Media Group’s Motivations for Using Facebook. Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, 8(1), 88-111. https://doi.org/10.29333/ojcmt/2365


  • Alemdar, M. ., & Köker, N. . (2013). Facebook uses and gratıfıcatıons: A study directed to determining the Facebook usage of generations X and Y in Turkey. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 4(11), 238–249.
  • Alhabash, S., Park, H., Kononova, A., Chiang, Y. H., & Wise, K. (2012). Exploring the motivations of Facebook use in Taiwan’. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 15(6), 304–311.
  • Aljasir, S. A. (2015). An investigation of Facebook usage by university students in Saudi Arabia. Coventry University, UK.
  • Arab Social Media Report. (2015). Arab Social Media Report 2015. Retrieved March 14, 2016, from file:///C:/Users/p12003338/Documents/Downloads/ArabSocialMediaReport-2015 (1).pdf
  • Arabian Gazette. (2015). Social media in the Arab world. Retrieved March 15, 2016, from http://www.arabiangazette.com/social-media-in-the-arab-world-2015-report/
  • Bajnaid, A. N. (2016). A study of online impression formation, mate preferences and courtship scripts among saudi users of Matrimonial websites. University of Leicester.
  • Balakrishnan, V., & Shamim, A. (2013). Malaysian Facebookers: Motives and addictive behaviours unraveled. Computers in Human Behavior, 29(4), 1342–1349.
  • Błachnio, A., Przepiorka, A., Boruch, W., & Bałakier, E. (2016). Self-presentation styles, privacy, and loneliness as predictors of Facebook use in young people. Personality and Individual Differences, 94, 26–31. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2015.12.051
  • Brandtzæg, P. B., Lüders, M., & Skjetne, J. H. (2010). Too many facebook “Friends”? Content Sharing and Sociability Versus the Need for Privacy in Social Network Sites. International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction, 26, 1006–1030. http://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10447318.2010.516719
  • Cheung, C. M. ., Chiu, P.-Y., & Lee, M. K. . (2011). Online social networks: Why do students use facebook? Computers in Human Behavior, (27), 1337–1343.
  • Cheung, C. M. K., & Lee, M. K. O. (2009). Understanding the sustainability of a virtual community: Model development and empirical test. Journal of Information Science, 35(3), 279–298.
  • Cole, J., Suman, M., Schramm, P., Zhou, L., & Tang, A. (2012). World internet project: International report. Retrieved March 16, 2015, from www.digitalcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/2012wip_report4th_ed
  • Dabner, N. (2012). “Breaking Ground” in the use of social media: A case study of a university earthquake response to inform educational design with Facebook. Internet and Higher Education, 15(1), 69–78.
  • Dahlstrom, E., de Boor, T., Grunwald, P., & Vockley, M. (2011). ECAR: National study of undergraduate students and information technology. Retrieved March 14, 2016, from https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ERS1103/ERS1103W.pdf.
  • Dennis, E., Martin, J., & Wood, R. (2013). Media use in the Middle East: An eight-nation survey. Retrieved from http://menamediasurvey.northwestern.edu/
  • Dennis, E., Martin, J., & Wood, R. (2014). Entertainment media use in the Middle East: A six-nation survey. Retrieved from http://mideastmedia.org/
  • Donlan, L. (2014). Exploring the views of students on the use of Facebook in university teaching and learning. Journal of Further and Higher Education, 38(4), 572–588.
  • Ellison, N. B., Steinfield, C., & Lampe, C. (2007). The benefits of Facebook “friends”: Social capital and college students’ use of online social network sites. Journal of ComputerMediated Communication, 12(4), 1143–1168. http://doi.org/10.1111/j.1083- 6101.2007.00367.x
  • Ellison, N. B., Steinfield, C., & Lampe, C. (2011). Connection strategies: social capital implications of Facebook-enabled communication practices. New Media & Society, 13(6), 873–892.
  • Goffman, E. (1959). The presentation of self in everyday life. New York, NY: Doubleday Anchor Books.
  • Gourdeau, J. (2015). What men and women are doing on Facebook. Retrieved March 20, 2016, from http://www.forbes.com/2010/04/26/popular-social-networkingsites-forbeswoman-time-facebook-twitter
  • Gunter, B. (2014). Celebrity capital: Assessing the value of fame. London, UK: Bloomsbury Academic.
  • Gunter, B., Elareshi, M., & Al-Jaber, K. (2016). Social media in the Arab world: Communication and public opinion in the Gulf states. London, UK: I.B Tauris Publishers.
  • Hindman, M. (2010). The myth of digital democracy. Ptinceton, NY: Princeton University Press.
  • Junco, R. (2015). Student class standing, Facebook use, and academic performance. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, (36), 18–29.
  • Jung, E. H., & Sundar, S. S. (2016). Senior citizens on Facebook: How do they interact and why? Computers in Human Behavior, 61, 27–35. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.02.080
  • Kaplan, A. M., & Haenlein, M. (2009). The fairyland of Second Life: Virtual social worlds and how to use them. Business Horizons, 52(6), 563–572.
  • Kaplan, A. M., & Haenlein, M. (2010). Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media. Business Horizons, 53(1), 59–68. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.bushor.2009.09.003
  • Katz, E. (1959). Mass communication research and the study of popular culture: An editorial note on a possible future for this journal. Studies in Public Communication, 2(1), 1–6.
  • Kaya, T., & Bicen, H. (2016). The effects of social media on students’ behaviors; Facebook as a case study. Computers in Human Behavior, 59, 374–379. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.02.036
  • Kayany, J., & Yelsma, P. (2000). Displacement effects of online media in the socio-technical contexts of households. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 44(2), 215–229.
  • Lawrence, E., Sides, J., & Farrell, H. (2010). Self-segregation or deliberation? Blog readership, participation, and polarization in American politics. Perspectives on Politics, 8(1), 141–157.
  • Manasijević, D., Živković, D., Arsić, S., & Milošević, I. (2016). Exploring students’ purposes of usage and educational usage of Facebook. Computers in Human Behavior, (60), 441–450.
  • Mazman, S. G., & Usluel, Y. K. (2010). Modeling educational use of Facebook. Computers & Education, 55(2), 444–453.
  • Menaceur, K. (2015). Social media network as academic tool: A study of media group in the Facebook page. Journal of Social Studies and Research. University of Martyr Himmat Llikhadr, (13/14), 279–288. Retrieved from file:///C:/Users/p12003338/Documents/Downloads/4131395
  • Moaddel, M. (2013). The birthplace of the Arab Spring: values and perceptions of Tunisians and a comparative assessment of Egyptian, Iraqi, Lebanese, Pakistani, Saudi, Tunisian, and Turkish publics. University of Maryland, MD.
  • Qureshi, I. A., Raza, H., & Whitty, M. (2014). Facebook as e-learning tool for higher education institutes. Knowledge Management and E-Learning, 6(4), 440–448.
  • Reuben, R. (2008). The use of social media in higher education for marketing and communications: A guide for professionals in higher education. Retrieved March 13, 2016, from http://doteduguru.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/social-media-inhighereducation.pdf
  • Salem, F., & Mourtade, R. (2014). Citizen engagement and public services in the Arab World: The potential of social media. Retrieved February 16, 2015, from http://www.mbrsg.ae/getattachment/e9ea2ac8-13dd-4cd7-9104- b8f1f405cab3/Citizen-Engagement-and-Public-Services-in-the-Arab.aspx
  • Salem, F., Mourtade, R., & Alshaer, S. (2014). The Arab world online 2014: Trends in the internet. Retrieved March 19, 2015, from http://www.mbrsg.ae/getattachment/ff70c2c5-0fce-405d-b23f-93c198d4ca44/TheArab-World-Online-2014-Trends-in-Internet-and.aspx
  • Sanchez, R. A., Cortijo, V., & Javed, U. (2014). Students’ perceptions of Facebook for academic purposes. Computers & Education, 70(1), 138–149.
  • Schau, H. J., & Gilly, M. C. (2003). We are what we post? Selfpresentation in personal web space. Journal of Consumer Research, 30(3), 385–404.
  • Sharma, S. K., Joshi, A., & Sharma, H. (2016). A multi-analytical approach to predict the Facebook usage in higher education. Computers in Human Behaviour, (55), 340–353.
  • Short, J., Williams, E., & Christie, B. (1976). Theoretical approaches to differences between media. In The social psychology of telecommunication (pp. 61–76). London, New York: Wiley.
  • The Statistics Portal. (2016). Leading social networks worldwide as of January 2016, ranked by number of active users (in millions). Retrieved March 13, 2016, from http://www.statista.com/statistics/272014/global-social-networks-ranked-by-numberof-users/
  • Thompson, P. (2013). The digital natives as learners: technology use patterns and approaches to learning. Computers & Education, 65(1), 12–33.
  • Thongmak, M. (2014). Factors determining learners’ acceptance of Facebook in a higher education classroom. Knowledge Management and E-Learning, 6(3), 316–331.
  • United Nations. (2012). E-government survey 2012: E-government for the people. Retrieved March 12, 2015, from www.unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/un/unpan048065
  • Walther, J. B. (1996). Computer-mediated communication impersonal, interpersonal, and hyperpersonal interaction. Communication Research, 23(11), 3–43.
  • Wong, K., Kwan, R., Leung, K., & Wang, F. L. (2014). Facebook’s potential for personal, social, academic and career development for higher education students. International Journal of Innovation and Learning, 16(2), 203–220.
  • Wu, S., Hofman, J. M., Mason, W. A., & Watts, D. J. (2011). Who says what to whom on Twitter. In Paper present at the 20th International Conference on World Wide Web (pp. 705–714). New York, NY: ACM.
  • Zephoria.com. (2015). The top 20 valuable Facebook statistics. Retrieved March 20, 2016, from https://zephoria.com/top-15-valuable-facebook-statistics/
  • Ziani, A.-K., & Elareshi, M. (2016). Mobile phone and Internet usage in the GCC region: University students’ perspectives. In B. Gunter, M. Elareshi, & K. Al-Jaber (Eds.), Social media in the Arab world: Communication and public opinion in the Gulf States (pp. 91–115). London and New York: I.B Tauris Publishers.