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Google exec Wael Ghonim in Egypt says long live the revolution 2.0

February 11, 2011 | 10:19 am


A fierce debate has been waged on Twitter (call it the Malcolm Gladwell backlash, all you Malcolm Gladwell haters, you know who you are) about whether the populist uprising in Egypt could be fairly called a social media revolution.

We aren't wading into that debate (so hold your comments). But Google marketing executive Wael Ghonim, one of the key organizers of the uprising who was detained and held by Egyptian authorities for 12 days, has made his position clear. He organized the revolution on Facebook and Twitter and plans to write a book about the effect of social media on political activism called "Revolution 2.0."

As Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepped down Friday (and the hashtag grew in popularity on Twitter), Ghonim told CNN's Wolf Blitzer: "If you want to liberate a government, give them the Internet."

Blitzer asked: "Tunisia, then Egypt. What's next?" Ghonim replied: "Ask Facebook."

Ghonim's colleagues in Mountain View are pretty proud of what he achieved too (even though Google is officially maintaining its distance).

Wrote Matt Cutts on Twitter: "@Ghonim What a day! Thanks 4 your idealism, bravery, humility. This change belongs to all Egyptians, but also to you. Anything is possible."


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-- Jessica Guynn

Photo: Egyptian cyberactivist and executive at Google Wael Ghonim speaks with the press at Cairo's Tahrir square on Tuesday, Feb. 8 following his release late on Feb. 7 after being held blindfolded by the Egyptian security service for 12 days. Credit: Khaled Desouki/AFP Photo