How Twitter is driving change in Saudi Arabia

  @FortuneMagazine November 21, 2013: 7:36 AM ET
EAS09 saudi driving

Which country has the fastest-growing Twitter market in the world? The surprising answer is Saudi Arabia, which ranks among the top users per capita anywhere. An estimated 51% of online Saudis maintain an account with the newly public social platform. And in Saudi Arabia, the only country in the world to forbid women from driving, Twitter (and YouTube and Facebook) are nudging this ultraconservative society forward in ways that traditional protest cannot.

An October demonstration by women drivers was smaller than planned. Only 60 or so women said they took part; many women sat home after the monarchy sent out stern warnings -- in the form of both threats and pleas that confrontation would only reverse any progress. As I learned in a week of conversations with scores of Saudis in Riyadh and Jeddah, on-the-ground protest -- especially in the wake of the raucous Arab Spring of 2011 -- is viewed warily even by many liberals.

Join the Conversation

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.