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The Effects Of Social Media Exploitation Media Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Media
Wordcount: 1511 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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On Jan 25th, 2011, the world for the first time witnessed a revolution that brilliantly leveraged the power of social networking tools to overthrow a corrupt regime. Facebook, twitter and blogs were all used to mobilize people across the State of Egypt and the 30-year dictatorship regime of Mubarak was overthrown in 18 days of peaceful demonstrations.

On Feb 11th, 2011, US president Barak Obama said: “There are very few moments in our lives where we have the privilege to witness history taking place. This is one of those moments. This is one of those times. The people of Egypt have spoken, their voices have been heard, and Egypt will never be the same”.

The eRevolution was sparked by a group of young activists on Facebook calling for nationwide demonstrations to restore people’s dignity and demand reform, freedom and social justice. Through the initiation of different Facebook groups, citizens coordinated their ideas and demonstration logistics via group posts, and comments, while communicating heavily on twitter and sometimes cell phone SMS services.

The government blocked twitter, SMS, and Facebook access in the hope of cutting communication lines between protestors and movement organisers. These Egyptian internet filters were easily bypassed by third-party proxies however, and on Jan 28th all internet access across Egypt was shutdown; the first online blackout of such magnitude in history. The move failed to slow the momentum of the revolution as people were already aware of where to go and how.

Egyptians still managed to access the internet over land-line dial-up and fax services, transmitting information and updates to sources outside of the country. Google also launched speak2tweet which allowed Egyptians to call a regular landline number in Cairo which used voice recognition software to convert their speech to text.

As the regime cracked, a vice president was appointed and a new government took over, with internet access and mobile phone communication restored in a gesture of goodwill to the Egyptian people. This tactic backfired horrendously on Mubarak, with Egyptians now able to upload videos of the violence the police force and thugs had inflicted on protestors. These videos can be sourced on YouTube right now – people being run over by cars, shot, snipered, and beaten to death by Molotov cocktail, machete-wielding thugs.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win” – Gandhi

FACT: 5 million out of 17 million Egyptians use Facebook.

“Alchemy-a mix of new media, Arab satellite channels and traditional media that informed and helped mobilise protests. In my opinion, if new media were able to foster this revolution, I think it would have happened long before.”

Much of the content from the revolution that appeared in traditional media originated on Facebook.

How much more powerful has the younger demographic been in the uprisings as a result of social media?



More than 50% of the populations of Yemen, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Morocco, and Egypt are currently estimated to be under 25 years of age.

A Tunisian youth setting himself on fire initiated the revolution of his nation, Egypt and political rioting all over North Africa and the Middle East.

How have governments succeeded and failed in attempting to exert their authority over their nations’ virtual world?



Jordanian ministers have been engaging with their people in ways that would suggest greater citizen-government interaction in the future and a civic life built around clear rights and duties of free expression for citizens and authorities.

Social media has been used to champion the rights of Internet users, journalists, citizens, and bloggers who have been arrested, imprisoned or prevented from reporting, during the Egyptian parliamentary elections in late 2010.

Bahraini authorities arrested an estimated 250 Shiite men who had allegedly been planning to carry out acts of terrorism. Human rights groups labelled it as a crackdown aimed at cementing control before October parliamentary elections.

Social media campaigns expressing outrage at the extent to which governments tried to exert control over the digital space, appear to have influenced government decisions to scale back proposed laws and regulations. After a draft law by the Jordanian government was widely criticised by news websites and activists claiming it would restrict media freedoms, it was amended. A similar situation occurred in Lebanon.

Arab government are investing in censorship technologies supplied by American firms.

In what ways has social media influenced the uprisings?



Development of new political and civil society engagement

Changed individual and collective capacities to communicate, mobilise, and gain technical knowledge; leading to greater voice, political influence and participation.

Arab world has experienced an awakening of free expression that has now entered the politics of Tunisia and Egypt, breaking down the stranglehold of state-sponsored media and information monopolies.

“Even a channel like al-Jazeera, where people have so much hope invested in, is not as open to all those views that social media has raised such as issues of sexuality, gender, and minority rights. Social media has enabled the masses to establish their own agendas.”

Social networking services have expanded the tools available to exercise individual freedom of expression.

The number of Facebook users in the Arab world (17m) has surpassed the copies of newspapers sold (14m)

“Facebook and other social media platforms are now beginning to define how people discover and share information, shape opinion, and interact.”

“In Jordan, people don’t interact, they are in small groups and they don’t open up easily”

Social networking and media platforms are serving as a bridge to build communities in both the virtual and physical worlds.

Aggregating, putting the story into context, amplifying and then using Twitter as a main broadcaster, because Twitter is the platform where journalists are following the story.”

Few can deny that social media has enabled the most significant advance in freedom of expression and association in contemporary Arab history. Social media aggregated, disseminated and accelerated vital news and information. But in the end, Facebook and YouTube are tools – and tools alone cannot bring about the changes the world has witnessed in recent weeks…Deep-seated social ills – repression from the top and political and economic frustrations from below – are at the core of protests sweeping the Arab world, much as they have been in revolutions throughout history.

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Key question: How powerful has online social networking been in the Arab uprisings of 2011?


How much more powerful has the younger demographic been in the uprisings as a result of social networking services?

How have governments succeeded and failed in attempting to exert their authority over their nations’ virtual world?

In what ways has social networking influenced the uprisings?

How did the exploitation of social networking services affect the course of the Egyptian Revolution?

My name is freedom. Born in Tunisia, raised in Egypt, studied in Yemen, fought in Libya and I’ll grow up in the Arab world.

Information is power, but 21st century technology has unleashed an information revolution, and now the genie is out of the bottle.

Youtube, Facebook and Twitter have become the new weapons of mass mobilisation; geeks have taken on dictators; bloggers are dissidents; and social networks have become rallying forces for social justice.

As people around the world challenge authorities, from Iran to Tunisia, Egypt to Yemen, entire societies are being transformed as ordinary citizens see the difference, imagine the alternative, and come together to organise for a better future.

So, are social networks triggering social revolution? And where will the next domino fall?


Social media is chronicling and amplifying the revolution that is happening on the streets.




details about what the fb pages said for all the different countries’ protests.


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