The anatomy of an Internet-driven revolution

Oslo, Norway – March 24, 2011

What drives a political revolution in the Internet era? In this month’s State of the Mobile Web, we analyzed traffic in key countries that underwent radical change in the month of February. In the analysis, the role of social networks became apparent, as people in Egypt took to their mobile phones for communication. Facebook, Twitter and other social-networking tools experienced a dramatic increase in page views during the recent revolution in Egypt.

“It’s really an amazing feeling – a feeling you cannot describe. You cannot imagine what it is like to be one amongst a million,” said Ayman Shokr, an engineer in Cairo when describing the mood in Tahrir Square. “It’s the first time in Egypt that you can find millions of people in the street, all asking for the same thing: freedom.”

Opera Software are the creators of the Opera Mini mobile web browser, which has millions of users across the Middle East. All web traffic from the Opera Mini web browser is compressed by Opera Software, and statistics from the servers offer a unique insight to browsing habits.

The data reveals that local opposition news sites with a normally low market penetration experienced a surge during the demonstrations in Tahrir Square. Some maintained their high traffic levels even after the resignation of Mubarak, while others flattened out.

For the full analysis of the Opera Mini traffic during the Egyptian revolution, please visit

The regional focus this month is on the Middle East, here are some highlights form the report:

  • Google, Facebook, and YouTube are the top 3 sites in each of the top countries of the Middle East. Yahoo!, the BBC, and Wikipedia are also popular in the region.
  • From February 2010 to February 2011, page views in the top 10 countries of the Middle East increased by 233%, unique users increased by 142% and data transferred increased by 259%.
  • The top 10 countries using the Opera Mini browser in the Middle East are Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Iraq, Jordan, Qatar, Syria, Oman and Israel.