How Facebook Changed The World: The Arab Spring

Tunisia - December 2010

Popular vacation state
Needed money to pay bribes in order to sell at outdoor markets

Friday, December 17, 2010 - Mohammad

Didn't have the money so was thrown out of town square that morning
City council would not help him
Set himself on fire

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thousands of people gatherd in protest of what had happened the day before
Later that night, street war with police. Throwing stones vs. tier gas and bullets
Tunisian State Government TV reported nothing!

Everyone had mobile phones

People were filming from every angle, even though it was illegal


President: Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
Government sensors all political sites
2 million facebook users. Government didn't sensor Facebook
90% had mobile phone, 25% had broadband


Computer engineer and friend - university students, wealth
Hated president and wanted to speak openly
"can't have a view or your own personality"
Tunisian bloggers accessed networks in other countries and expressed their opinions
They could, if caught, face detention and torture.
Posted to Facebook and Al Gazid TV picked up the videos and broadcast them across the Middle East
Protests spread, but they needed union members to join (working people)
Hacked into union website and asked people to come to the protest

Protest, Mohammed Ali Square:

Police thought they were ahead, but...
People posted safe places to walk on Twitter
Thousands of people gathered
Had software on his phone that allowed for live streaming so that people could see it in real time
Police came in with guns and killed people

Ben Ali:

Tried to go on a PR offensive
Picture with dying Mohammed
Arrested two main protesters (January 6, 2011)
Protesters were pissed so they stayed in the streets
Police kept killing
150 dead already

January 13, 2011

President: "From today, there will be full freedom of expresion."
Tunisians were already beyond compromise

January 14, 2011

8:30 - On the streets, everything on fire. 10,000s of people protesting
Headed to the Ministry of the Interior
Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia

January 15, 2011

Interim Government - Transition to Democracy


The whole Arab world was watching

Egypt - underground Internet activists were ready to go

President Hosni Mubarak
"But essential to the western world"
Police States
Could do whatever they wanted
"Systematic torture of men, women, and children."
Blogs rarely censored, but still not too safe
5 million Facebook users in Egypt

June 2010

Young computer programmer tortured and murdered because of his work exposing the government online


Muslim Brotherhood: normal opposition
Mubarak failed to see that new factions were protesting
Thought that because the Internet had no structure and leadership, it was not a threat

Planning of January 25, 2011 protest

6-7 people decided the place and time two weeks before
Wanted to send a message through Facebook and through taxi drivers
Taxi drivers like to gossip and they decided to use that
Word spread very quickly
People started to stop hiding their identity online
These people got support
Knew that the police were monitoring ALL online communication
Announce decoy areas - trick police away from the big crowds

January 25, 2011 - public holiday in honor of police

Thrir Square - 40,000 Egyptians
"We will sacrifice our lives for our nation."
Everyone protested as one. Not Islamic. Egyptian.
Peaceful protest.
Riot police sent in
Water Cannon, Tier Gas
People stayed out all night, despite the police
Dawn police cleared the square

Politicians - US

Obama gave so much support to Mubarak
Hilary Clinton says that everything is alright
Focuses on the government and not the democracy
Egyptians not felt contempt for Obama

Friday, January 29, 2011


Support from online groups
Police plan to kill
Government turned off ALL internet service

Occupy Tahrir Square

Although technology was cut off, plan was already in place
Head to poor suburbs of Cairo and tell the poor what is going on
Since people couldn't just look online, people went outside to look and gathered
10,000 people marching to Tharir Square
needed to cross the Nile River over just one main route
Police instructed to kill
After 2 hours of unarmed fighting, cross the bridge and continue to protest
6pm, police leave
Attack Headquarter of regime
Army moves in but is too late

200,000 people "own" the square

The biggest sign of their freedom


Promises that he will protect Egypt
Obamaa "He has a responsibility to take meaning to these words."
United States quietly encouraged Mubarak to step aside
Didn't listen
Used technology to try to impress the Egyptian people
Texts, etc

All main cities across the country were in revolt.

The Egyptian army was ready to attack - the most powerful institution in Egyptian society
Who's side was the Egyptian Army going to take?

February 1, 2011

Obama: "A new direction needs to be taken in Egypt."
Mubarak's back is against the wall
Lost support of US and Egyptian people

February 2, 2011 - Battle of the Camels

100s of armed men came to Tahrir Square
Vandals stole, robbed, and terrorized the people in the streets.
Stones, Camels, Snipers
Everything in Egypt
The army just sat and watched
16 army officers said that they were firmly on the side of the protesters

February 11, 2011

"Mubarak is abandoning his position as president of the republic."

Uprising spreads to Libia, Bahrain, Syria, Yemen

Rulers learned, "if you aren't tough enough and ruthless enough, you can be toppled."

The internet becomes the only link to the outside world for countries that are battling against the Arab worlds most brutal tyrants.

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