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Published on Feb 27, 2011
Watch part 2 of the inaugural Dubai Debates panel. Mahmoud Salem aka Sandmonkey talks about the Internet shutdown in Egypt, Mohammed Abu Obeid discusses the real reasons for the revolutions in the Arab world, Daniel Gerlach talks about rumours spreading in Tunisia through social networks, Dr. Mohammed Ibahrine on how unreliable information on social networks are.
It would be an irony of history. The Facebook founder, a Jewish-American man in his mid-twenties, is being credited by some for the recent revolutionary movements in parts of the Arab world. Wael Ghonim, one of the organizers of the Egyptian revolution, would like to thank him personally, he said in a CNN interview. And where will the next Arab revolution take place? "Ask Facebook", says Ghonim.
Without a doubt, Facebook, Twitter and other websites have been a factor in the recent events. The January 25 protests in Egypt were organized through a Facebook page called We are all Khalid Said. In Tunisia, activist, blogger and Tweeter Slim Amamou has been appointed to a ministerial position in the post-Ben Ali government. And countless videos of protests in Arab capitals were uploaded to Youtube even when regimes were actively curtailing access to the web.
However some, like DubaiDebates.com participant and Harvard University Berkman Center research affiliate, Helmi Noman, argue that the role of social media is being over-rated. "The Internet is a catalyst for power shift", he argues. "It works when there is a power shift offline." So, no revolution on the streets, no revolution on the Internet?
What do you think? Join our debate by submitting a video contribution to the panel. Are social media the reason for the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt? Will there be a ripple effect on other Arab nations? How much credit do Facebook and Twitter deserve for the recent events? Is Mark Zuckerberg the new hero of the Arabs? Or is it Twitter founder Jack Dorsey?