The Powers and Dangers of the Internet Wael Ghonim

College Freedom Forum at Stanford
November 16, 2015

When the photo of a young Egyptian activist killed by the police was first leaked online Wael Ghonim decided to put the Internet to good use and set up a website to organize pro-democracy demonstrations. These demonstrations ultimately helped bring down Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak. Ghonim describes the power of the internet to solicit ideas from hundreds of thousands of people, to increase awareness with exponential speed, and to connect people for a good cause. He also addresses the flip side of the internet, with its its tendency to amplify hate, polarization and harassment. Acknowledging what the internet offers for human connection, Ghonim calls for the engineering of a better internet that minimizes polarization among people and encourages civil discourse instead of online harassment.