Lifestyle / #ForbesLifestyle

November 1, 2017,   5:00 PM

Instagram Launches Arabic Language Support

Samuel Wendel


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For the first time, Arabic speakers can now scroll through Instagram with the social media platform optimized to display in their own language. On October 31, Instagram announced it has begun support for right-to-left languages, including Arabic, Farsi and Hebrew.

With the addition of those three, the social media platform now supports 36 languages. Unfortunately for iPhone users, Instagram currently only supports Arabic for Android devices. To change Instagram’s display language to Arabic, users go to the settings tab on their profile and select “Languages.” After choosing “Arabic,” the app will update to read from right-to-left.

“With this update, we hope more people around the world will be able to connect with the people and interests that matter to them. Thank you for being a part of our global community,” said a press release from Instagram.

It’s a long-needed update. Even without support for Arabic, in recent years Instagram has grown steadily in popularity in the Middle East and North Africa, particularly among young adults. Although Facebook remains the dominant social media platform in the region, usage of other social media platforms—most notably Twitter—has dropped.

A survey conducted by Northwestern University in Qatar across six countries in the Middle East and North Africa found that Instagram users rose by 6% between 2014-2016 (reaching 30%). In that same span, Twitter users dropped by 20% (from 48% to 28%), while Facebook usage also dropped by 7% (from 89% to 82%).

Instagram’s announcement is also no doubt good news for social media influencers in the region and their followers, including those highlighted by Forbes Middle East earlier this year.

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