How powerful are Facebook and Twitter?
Powerful enough to start a revolution.
At least, that’s what people have said when describing the Egyptian revolution in 2011.
After the death of Khaled Said, a 28-year-old Egyptian who was reportedly beat to death by Egyptian police, a Facebook page called “We Are All Khaled Said” was created to call attention to the corruption of the Egyptian government and the wrongful death of Said.
The group called for a mass protest on January 25, 2011 – National Police Day. Little did people know that this would be the beginning of a two-week revolution that would result in the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.
But the question remained – who was the person, or people, behind the Facebook group that proved to be so instrumental in this revolution?
That person would be Wael Ghonim, an Egyptian who started the group after seeing a photo of a deceased Said. Ghonim managed to stay anonymous until Jan. 28, when he accidently changed an event time on the group’s page from his personal Facebook account.
“I basically thought that my anonymity was my power, was the reason this page was so powerful,” Ghonim said, in an interview with NPR. “A lot of people believed in what was there.”
After his capture by Egyptian police, Ghonim was held for 11 days and interrogated. He was believed to have been working for a foreign government and was deemed a traitor.
Ghonim’s release on Feb. 8 was seen as a key moment in the Egyptian revolution, according to NPR.
Since his release, Ghonim has written a book, Revolution 2.0, which describes his personal timeline of events and what life has been like since Mubarak’s resignation. He also describes the power of social media and how he used them as “tools” to bring vision to his cause.