Facebook is changing the way humans receive news. As the new generation grows up in the internet age, and forms habits based on current technologies, Facebook becomes the base camp of internet information consumption. This change comes from Facebook’s specialized feed of information, which is made up mostly of friends photos and specialized media. This specialized media is made up of articles and videos posted by friends from credible and non-credible news sources. because of the variety of the Facebook’s news feed, it easily becomes the most efficient and enjoyable news source. Due to the fact that everyone uses Facebook and it is extremely easy to share with friends, the platform becomes an amazing way for activists like Khalid Albaih to spread there word of reform. The visually based feed always for Khalid to share his cartoons with thousands of friends instantly, or even share them to a group full of people from certain locations. All it takes is one captivating cartoon until the user has clicked on it and is learning about the social movement Khalid is pushing for.
Although Facebook’s sharing power is amazing for positive social movements like Khalid’s, and a relaxing time online, it can also be a bad thing, giving people false/bias perspectives. Most of the news that comes up on your Facebook feed is not from the sources that you “like” or follow, but from other people who shared the information. Everyone has friends that want to be or are activists, and so many of these people are sharing information about controversial issues that people are aware of. Therefor the information that is posted is not intended to spread word of this issue but to force an opinion on it, and often, a very biased opinion. Personally my Facebook feed is infested with biased opinions on controversial issues. These sources often seem to quiet official and always have the intent of hooking a young Facebook reader, when the bias is so great Fox news and CNN might as well be the same. One could say that Khalid’s posts are one sided, however the intensions behind the posts are deep with the intent to make the world a better place, and the majority of the world will always support him as he marches forward to bring more freedom to the world. Facebook is amazing way to share idea’s for the masses, however we must be careful in recognizing what is important and what is not.
Political cartoonist, Khalid Albaih, employs the use of social media to express to spread revolutionary thought through nations with strict and oppressive censorship. Albaih views the internet and social media as a “visa,” which allows the oppressed to demonstrate the truth of their nations to the rest of the world and gain support in their respective revolutions. In many of these nations published newspapers are heavily censored by the repressive governments, and serve only as propaganda, not an actual account of the nation’s state. Albaih discussed the emergence of the Arab Spring Revolution, and how this was really the first large-scale revolution that arose over social media.
A key aspect of the start of the Arab Spring was the involvement of a young democratically aimed population. Young, and educated people employed social media tools, like Facebook, to connect and organize a revolution behind the back of their government. Since Egyptian leadership had little knowledge of social media they remained oblivious to the coming revolution and had difficulty quelling the extinguishing the uprising. Many repressive governments blame social media for the rebellions in the nations. Social media provides a space to organize and discuss revolutionary ideas; however, it is not the cause of these ideas and thus cannot take the blame. Ultimately it is the repressive governments that must assume the blame for revolutions since they serve as the entity that inflicts harsh rules, thus causing angst throughout their respective societies.
When asked if he thought the Arab Spring failed, Albaih remarked that real revolution takes time. The Arab Spring only started in 2010, and throughout history the biggest revolutions have occurred over decades and arguably centuries. The people in Egypt have been “broken” by living under an oppressive rule for a very long time, thus their revolution will need more than six years to reach an end. The Tunisian revolution was mentioned as an example of precipitous revolution. The difference between this revolution and the Arab spring is the Tunisia was already a very small and open-minded nation, which had systems in place that could be utilized once their tyrannical leadership fled. Since the nation is so small it also did not have a very active military to oppose the revolutionary citizens. Egypt on the other hand, has a much larger population with over 18 million citizens. The large nation has a very powerful army to control its citizens, and there are no systems in place to replace leadership once tyranny is expelled. Having a large population means that it is also more difficult to spread revolutionary idea throughout citizens, especially since more of the population is uneducated. While the people of Egypt still struggle to oppose oppressive leadership, social media still serves as an important tool in maintaining the revolution and involving other nations.
Albaih uses political cartoons instead of blogs or other writing since image can serve as a “universal language”. Humans have developed an extremely short attention span in regards to what they view on social media, and images work best to reach the largest variety to people the fastest. Images also have the power to show as opposed to tell. An image is more effective since its message relies on the interpretation of the audience. This can lead to many different interpretations of one image, some of which may not unveil the artist’s intent, but this also makes the message more personal for each looker since their conscious plays a role in the message. When someone is simply told something, he or she is more likely to become skeptical of the message depending on how much they trust their source. The audience of something told also plays no role in the message itself, thus it means less to each member and is less likely to incite change.