The Current

Social media can start a revolution but people have to finish it, says Wael Ghonim

In 2011, at the height of the political uprisings in Egypt, Wael Ghonim said that to liberate a society, all you need is the internet. Today, he's not so sure.
In 2011, at the height of the Arab Spring in Egypt, Wael Ghonim said that to liberate a society, all you need is the internet. Today, he's not so sure. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

Read story transcript

The crowd in Cairo's Tahrir Square erupted in jubilation after the then-president Hosni Mubarak stepped down in February 2011.

For then-Google executive Wael Ghonim it was history in the making. His anonymous Facebook page, We Are All Khaled Said, helped launch the  revolution.

But the hopes that he and so many other Egyptians had for their country, were quickly crushed in the months and years to follow. True democracy has been thwarted by Islamists, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Egyptian army.

Now, five years later, Ghonim reflects on what role social media played in the revolution and its aftermath. He joins the show from Paolo Alto, Calif.

Ghonim is the founder of Parlio.com, and author of Revolution 2.0: The Power of the People Is Greater Than the People in Power: A Memoir.

This segment was produced by The Current's Lara OBrien.

now