Internet and social media development in Somalia

Authored by: Ismail Sheikh Yusuf Ahmed

Routledge Handbook on Arab Media

Print publication date:  November  2020
Online publication date:  November  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138385481
eBook ISBN: 9780429427084
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9780429427084-45

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Abstract

Somalia’s telecommunication experience is relatively limited and humble compared to various countries on different continents, particularly those that have enjoyed political stability and generous governmental support. Nevertheless, the country enjoys more affordable and competitively priced telecommunication services, which are efficient and fast, than neighboring countries, and information and communications technologies (ICTs) and innovations have flourished in recent years. In particular, the Internet, social media, and smartphones have become a fundamental part of the public’s daily routines. The country enjoys vigorous and growing telecoms, offering mobile phone subscriptions and telephone and Internet access at reasonable prices. Several data-driven organizations have reported on the Internet and social media penetration in Somalia, often with contradictory statistics. However, these statistics all show a growing penetration nationwide, with Facebook and Twitter as the most prevalent social media platforms. The exponential growth of websites has also been observed. Hundreds of websites, the majority owned and managed by Somalis in the diaspora, appeared during the early years of the new millennium. Though the penetration is not yet high, the Internet and social media play an indispensable role in both political and social life in the country. The public depends on these platforms for numerous activities, such as news-seeking, entertainment, education, online shopping, and keeping up to date on current affairs. A communications act was recently adopted to regulate the telecommunication industry; the key objectives of which include managing ICT-related technologies such as telecoms and Internet providers.

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