Thank You, Facebook: The Social Network as Mideast Hero

Tracking the outward signs of Facebook's impact throughout the Middle East

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In perhaps the truest sign of one's affection for a social network, an Egyptian man has named his daughter "Facebook." As reported in the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram, Jamal Ibrahim chose the name to honor the service that aided anti-government protesters in their efforts to overthrow President Hosni Mubarak. "The girl's family, friends, and neighbors... gathered around the new born to express their continuing support for the revolution that started on Facebook," an English translation of the article reads. Ibrahim's gesture is just the latest sign of goodwill Middle Easterners are showering on the social network.

In the US, it's easy to get lost in the never-ending debates of social media types about just how much credit Facebook deserves for the revolutions--for its part, Facebook has been wary of claiming any credit--in reports from the region, it's easy to spot something different: Facebook is emerging as a true player in the drama, with an outpouring of support and loyalty that goes beyond most corporations, certainly American ones operating in the Middle East. We've collected some of the most outward signs of Facebook's growing presence in the story:

Last night, 60 Minutes chronicled the uprising in Tunisia that inspired Egypt's revolution. As many of the protests were organized on Facebook, Tunisians showed their appreciation:


As protests moved to Egypt, a number of foreign journalists captured Facebook fever on the ground. Below, anti-government protesters in Cairo.

The swelling popularity of Facebook protest pages around the Middle East also cannot be ignored. Below, two anti-government protest pages from Bahrain (one with nearly 50,000 likes):

We'd also be remiss to not include CNN's interview with senior Google executive Wael Ghonim, who gave a great deal of credit to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg:
 I’m talking on behalf of Egypt. This revolution started online. This revolution started on Facebook. This revolution started in June 2010 when hundreds of thousands of Egyptians started collaborating content. We would post a video on Facebook that would be shared by 60,000 people on their walls within a few hours. I always said that if you want to liberate a society just give them the Internet.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.