ABU DHABI // The US presidential election, religious occasions and rainstorms were among the most discussed topics on Facebook by people in the UAE this year.
On Thursday, Facebook released its Year in Review’s top moments of 2016 from people in the country and around the world.
“As the year comes to a close, we have seen people in the UAE connect in big and small ways on Facebook and create memorable moments together,” said Jonathan Labin, Facebook managing director in the Middle East and North Africa.
More than 90 per cent of people in the UAE use Facebook and in the Mena region as a whole, 136 million people use the social media site.
Posts on rainstorms in Dubai and Fujairah ranked as the fourth most-discussed topic after the US presidential election, Eid Al Adha and Ramadan.
Last March, the country experienced what was described as the storm of the century, with 240 millimetres of rain falling across the emirates in one day. Social media platforms were flooded with images and videos of the storm and its damage.
Discussions about Aleppo, which has been a subject of turmoil for years amid the Syrian civil war, came fifth. Syrian government forces in the city appeared on Thursday to be closing in on victory over the rebels.
Worldwide, the US presidential election was the most discussed topic by users around the globe. The second most popular topic was Brazilian politics, where protests broke out over former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s appointment as ex-president Dilma Rousseff’s chief of staff.
On March 16, hundreds of protesters went to the presidential palace to express their views, and four million conversations initiated on Facebook on the subject. Ms Rousseff was later impeached and ousted.
This topic was followed by Pokemon Go, a game that became wildly popular as users around the world joined the search for the nearest Pokemon character.
Its global page on Facebook attracted more than 200,000 active members. There were more than 7,000 groups formed to teach people how to play and to provide latest updates on servers and the game.
The Black Lives Matter movement, the Olympics and Muhammed Ali were also among the top 10 discussed topics. In the first 24 hours following the legendary boxer’s death, there were 110 million related interactions on Facebook.
As for live videos, the emergency landing of an Emirates aircraft at Dubai airport last August topped UAE users’ results.
Other popular videos covered topics such as exit clearances for overseas Filipino workers, an Egyptian presenter whose hair was shaved on air, and a vote for the best football player in the Arab world.