Throughout the Arab Spring Uprisings, the world has seen numerous surprising events. The gatherings in Tahrir Square and self-immolation of civilians have inspired awe the world over. All this for the purpose of freedom. The uniting of a civilian population is no easy feat, and the overthrowing of an oppressive regime even more so. As of February 2012, four regimes have now been toppled. Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, and Libya have all successfully overthrown their governing powers. The use of social media has played a major role in these uprisings, allowing users to quickly and effectively communicate and organize under one banner.
Two of the successful revolutions, Egypt and Tunisia, are prime examples of the reason social media can be a deciding factor in a revolution. During both revolutions social media was used in order to bring awareness to a moral discrepancy performed by their respective regimes. For Egypt it was in the form of the martyr Khaled Said, while Tunisia lost Mohamed Bouazizi. News, videos, and images spread like rapid fire on social media and in both cases, citizens were able to speak their mind and organize almost instantaneously. The “We are All Khaled Said” Facebook page became a hub for online communication during the Egyptian Revolution.2 The self immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi was a symbol of what the Tunisian government was doing to its people.1 Nonviolent protests began to break out in both countries which were only possible because of sites such as Facebook and Twitter spreading news through these channels.
Without social media, the murder of Khaled Said and self immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi would have been swept under the rug by their respective regimes. With full control over the media, there is no way people would have known about the truth behind these events fast as they did, and even less likely that anyone would have spoken up at all. When people have no place to voice their opinion, they lack the ability to communicate and organize. Social media is the platform which allows people to say what they want on an individual basis, which can be the catalyst for freedom of expression and freedom from oppression.