Esraa Adbel Fattah and Wael Ghonim both used the power of Facebook to organize activists and find those unhappy with Egypt's current regime. Now both are nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
Ghonim, whom we have written extensively about, is a former Google executive who started the Facebook page, "We are all Khaled Saeed," in 2010 which became a rallying cry for change and protest. He was imprisoned by the government in January and released 10 days later.
The lesser-known Abdel Fattah, also started a Facebook page in 2008 calling for a national strike, was also imprisoned for 18 days, and her actions are credited as the start of what would become Egypt's revolution, the Christian Science Monitor reported. She said that that winning the Nobel Peace Prize would bring recognition to activists like herself in the April 6 movement, but also mentioned that the nomination has been criticized by other activists who say that it "overplays the role of social media."
The role of social media, such as Facebook, was a strong one mainly because it enabled average people to spread their message quickly -- much more quickly than phone banks or word-of-mouth. Without it, activists wouldn't have had the real-time data to avoid dangerous areas, protect one another or organize protests with last-minute changes. So, yes, we believe it had a significant role in the Egyptian revolution.
But if either wins, will they publicly give their thanks to Mark Zuckerberg?