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This article was published on June 21, 2011


Egypt’s army unwittingly polls all Facebook users

Egypt’s army unwittingly polls all Facebook users
Nancy Messieh
Story by

Nancy Messieh

Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Fol Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Follow her on Twitter, her site or Google+ or get in touch at [email protected]

In an interesting move from Egypt’s Supreme Council for Armed Forces, a poll has been placed on its Facebook page giving users a chance to vote on who they think should be Egypt’s next president.

The poll included 20 names including ex-IAEA chief Mohamed El Baradei, former presidential candidate Ayman Nour, former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq, and the only female candidate, Bothaina Kamel.

So far, the results put Mohamed El Baradei at the top of the list with 38%, leaving quite a few of the 20 hopefuls at the bottom of the list with 0%, among them, lawyer Mortada Mansour. Running from June 19, until July 19, the poll has already received over 100,000 votes.

The very existence of the poll, however, has been met with mixed reactions, but most notably of all it has caused a stir because  anyone with a Facebook account can participate regardless of location or nationality. This point alone makes the results absolutely irrelevant to Egypt’s local political scene, without even taking into account the fact that only 5% of Egypt’s population is on Facebook.

This is just another example of Middle Eastern governments and their desire to put social media to use. On one hand it’s to be admired, but because of an inability to understand the intricacies of the tools, all efforts simply fall flat.