Research Articles

Internet activism and the Egyptian uprisings: transforming online dissent into the offline world



Tim Eaton currently works for BBC Media Action on media development projects in the Middle East. He previously completed his postgraduate degree at the University of Exeter, majoring in Middle East Studies. He is also a former researcher for Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs. Tim has a long-standing interest in the politics of Egypt, where he worked as a political researcher at the Ibn Khaldun Center throughout the 2005 elections.
This article aims to investigate the role of internet activism in the 2011 Egyptian uprisings. It suggests that the significance of internet activism in Egypt in this period was twofold: first, in its utility as a tool for activists to mobilize, organize and inspire Egyptians to take to the streets on 25 January 2011; and, second, in its use as a medium to document events in Egypt beyond the reach of the authorities. Particular attention is paid to the growth of the ‘We Are All Khaled Said’ (WAAKS) campaign on Facebook and its capacity to translate online dissent into the offline world. The transformation of protesters into citizen journalists through information and communication technologies, and Twitter in particular, is examined for its success in challenging the narrative set by Egyptian state media and in providing a window into events for the outside world.

Keywords: Twitter, Tahrir, revolution, internet, Facebook, Egypt, activism

How to Cite: Eaton, T. (2017) “Internet activism and the Egyptian uprisings: transforming online dissent into the offline world”, Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture. 9(2). doi: