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Missing Google Executive, Tech Hero of Egypt Uprising, Released

Wael Ghonim

is Google’s chief of marketing in the Middle East and North Africa. He is also one of the driving forces behind the Egypt uprising. Ghonim was called a hero by opposition groups for using Facebook, Twitter and his technical expertise and connections to help organize the movement to bring democracy to Egypt. Gives a whole new meaning to Google’s 20 percent policy.

Ghonim went missing, but was released by Egyptian authorities Monday.

The Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Ghonim is counted among a small group of political activists in Egypt whose social-media savvy over the past year helped spark the massive demonstrations threatening Egypt’s ruling regime. “I said one year ago that the Internet will change the political scene in Egypt and some Friends made fun of me :),” Mr. Ghonim wrote on his personal Facebook profile for friends after two days of swelling protests in Cairo. The next day, Jan. 28, he disappeared.

It remains unclear what role, if any, Mr. Ghonim played in organizing the Jan. 25 protest movement itself, the largest Egypt has seen in more than 30 years. However, he played a prominent role in online activism in the months ahead of the historic protests.

Last year, Mr. Ghonim was one of four administrators running the first of the major Facebook pages that became a virtual headquarters for the protest movement, according to a collaborator in the political opposition, and also according to an Internet activist familiar with the situation. Mr. Ghonim also set up the official campaign website for opposition leader Mohamed ElBaradei and volunteered as a tech consultant for other opposition groups, according to Ziad Al-Alimi, a senior aide to Mr. ElBaradei.

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