Impact of social media in arab spring: special emphasis on tunisia’s uprising

International Journal of Development Research

Article ID: 
5 pages
Review Article

Impact of social media in arab spring: special emphasis on tunisia’s uprising



Almost immediately after the Arab uprisings began, there was debate over the role and influence of social media in the overthrow of Tunisian president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and the imminent coup of Mubarak. In covering what some deemed the Facebook or Twitter revolutions, the media focused heavily on young protesters mobilizing in the streets in political opposition, smartphones in hand. And since then, the violent and sectarian unrest in Syria has brought increased attention to the role of citizen journalism. Social media indeed played a part in the Arab uprisings. Networks formed online were crucial in organizing a core group of activists. Civil society leaders in Arab countries emphasized the role of "the internet, mobile phones, and social media” in the protests. Additionally, digital media has been used by Arabs to exercise freedom of speech and as a space for civic engagement. This paper aims to demonstrate why the role of social media in the Arab Spring cannot be disregarded. This paper does not argue that social media caused the Arab Spring but was an essential tool impacting the way in which the Arab Spring occurred. Social media as a tool had positive and negative impacts on the Arab Spring shaping different outcomes in different regions. Egypt and Tunisia fall under the regions where social media proved to be more efficient and who experienced more positive than negative impacts. The rest of the regions including Libya, Yemen, Algeria, Bahrain and Syria were shown to benefit less from social media whose functions backfired due to high government intervention. Special emphasis will be on the impact of Tunisia’s uprising.

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