Facebook polls as proto-democratic instruments in the Egyptian revolution: The ‘We Are All Khaled Said’ Facebook page

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Rasha Abdulla; Thomas Poell; Bernhard Rieder; Robbert Woltering; Liesbeth Zack

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Research Article

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Global Media and Communication

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This article examines the dynamics of political participation on the ‘We Are All Khaled Said’ Facebook page, which hosted the call for Egypt’s 25 January 2011 revolution. It shows that the page served as a proto-democratic instrument by introducing both qualitative and quantitative polls and following up with actions based on majority opinion. This argument is developed through an analysis of discussion threads and polls from the page, selected from a data set of 14,072 posts, 6,810,357 comments and 32,030,731 likes made by 1,892,118 users, extracted via a customized version of Netvizz. The analysis demonstrates that the page provided a basic lesson in democratic participation to its users. ‘We Are All Khaled Said’ constituted an unprecedented public space for active discussions on fighting corruption, torture and police brutality. Moreover, it served as a practical example of shared governance and political participation, which became a model for its users to strive to apply to their country.

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