Many people around the world remember that day when hundreds of Egyptians were gathered on the Tahrir square in Cairo, trying to improve the future of Egypt. This scenario was not only noticeable in Egypt, but citizens from many Arab countries came together and demonstrated in order to improve the policy in their countries. It is argued that in for mation and communication technologies, such as the internet, social media and mobile phones have played an important role during the demonstrations in the Middle East and North Africa (Comninos, 2011; Haddadi, 2011, as cited in Mansour, 2012). Information and communication technologies helped achieve many goals that the participants of the demonstrations during the Arab Spring were trying to achieve. The authorities that tried to control the demonstrations in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt by withholding social media, didn’t achieve any success whatsoever by trying to do so (Niekerk et al., 2011, as cited in Mansour, 2012). This essay is going to focus on Egypt and will hereby investigate the impact that Facebook had on the establishment and development of the Egyptian revolution, that began on 25 January 2011.
To investigate whether Facebook had an impact on the Egypt revolutions, it is important to be aware of Internet penetration and particularly Facebook penetration in Egypt. Table I shows the extent of the usage of different forms of ICTs in Arabic countries. The Table is based on statistics retrieved from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), United Nations the Arab Media Outlook and the Arab Social Media Report (Mansour, 2012).
As can be seen in the table above, the Facebook penetration per 100 habitants is not very high, but it is also not very low. This means that many people in Egypt do use Facebook, but not to a large extent. Due to the fact that Facebook provided an Arabic language service in March 2009, early political bloggers could now connect with each other and discuss certain occasions in their country. The introduction of the Arabic language service on Facebook was one of the most important happenings in the alteration of the Egyptian public sphere (Tufekci & Wilson, 2012). The launch of Arabic Facebook in 2009 had propelled the Facebook users in Egypt from approximately 900,000 in January 2009 to 5 million Facebook users in 2010. (The Telegraph, 2009; Wright, 2011, as cited in Lim,2012). There are more Facebook users than newspaper readers in Egypt and Facebook is the most accessed website in Egypt after Google (Lim, 2012).
The role of Facebook and the Egyptian revolution
A study has been conducted to investigate whether the Facebook had an important impact on the establishment of the Egyptian revolution (Tufekci & Wilson, 2012). It is stated that more than a quarter of the protestors the researchers had investigated heard about the demonstrations on Facebook for the first time and another quarter of the protestors used Facebook to post pictures and Facebook which were created during the protests. The protestors which were attendant during the first day of the Egyptian revolution, 25 January 2011, were more likely to communicate about the protests using Facebook or another social media tool and usin Using satellite television as a general information source was associated with a lower possibility of joining the first day of the protests, because other resources of communication, such as social media, supplied more information about the protests (Tufekci & Wilson, 2012). The role of Facebook, in the Egyptian demonstrations can be assumed through its relationship to social networks and mobilization instruments. In Egypt’s oppositional movements, social media (Facebook in particular) supplied the tool for the creation and the growth of networks that the authoritarian government of Egypt could not regulate easily (Lim, 2012). Due to Facebook, networks of...