February 17th, 2011
01:10 AM GMT
Over the course of the last week Egyptian protestors have credited Facebook for helping them organize and over throw the government.
Talking to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Wael Ghonim said he’d like to meet Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg one day and thank him. Facebook has played down its role, saying it was, “their bravery and determination [of protesters] that mattered most.”
The revolution that took place in Tunisia and then in Cairo must be a dream come true for Zuckerberg, who predicted two years ago that social media would change “how people relate to government and their leadership.”
But it may turn out to be a nightmare for the tech giant’s many investors.
“These companies also have to grow, they have to expand in China, they have to expand internationally and for them it is not really a good marketing move …to be the digital equivalent of Radio Free Europe,” says Evgeny Morozov, the author of “The Net Delusion.”
Sree Sreenivasan of Columbia University agrees. ”I don’t think revolutions and business go hand in hand,” Sreenivasan says. “I think there will be a lot of countries looking at this idea of Facebook coming in and helping their people overthrow their governments and say…we don’t want that here.”
Should Facebook care?
Right now it is a private company and answers to only a limited number of investors. But an initial public offering is expected within the next year. Is a $50 billion valuation justified if they are closed out of non-democratic countries? Or does the experience in Cairo underscore its importance?
What do you think? Is revolution bad for business? Have Tunisia and Cairo changed the way you think about Facebook?
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