Wael Ghonim Credits Google for Securing His Freedom - NBC Bay Area

Wael Ghonim Credits Google for Securing His Freedom



    While Google remained quiet in public while one of its executives languished in an Egyptian jail, the Mountain View-based company was conducting a quiet PR campaign.

    Wael Ghonim, the head of marketing of Google Middle East and North Africa, was credited with launching one of the Facebook pages that helped launch the revolution in Egypt.

    In the west, the 30-year-old computer programmer became the face of the Egyptian people when he was reportedly detained by Egyptian authorities and detained in prison for 12 days.

    On an interview with 60 Minutes Sunday, Ghonim was asked why he thought the Egyptians freed him after 12 days in prison, where he said he was beaten and blindfolded.

    "There were a lot of factors to it," he said. "One is Google.Google did a lot of work to get me out. They did a massive PR campaign."

    Ghonim said he believes his name being in the media helped put pressure on the Egyptian government to release him from prison.

    Publicly Google said very little about Ghonim when it was reported that he first went missing.

    “We can confirm that a Googler, Wael Ghonim, is missing in Egypt,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement Feb. 4. “He has not been seen since late Thursday evening in central Cairo.

    The company put out an international phone number for people with information about Ghonim's disappearance to call.

    Shortly after a video of Ghonim allegedly being taken from near Tahrir Square was posted on Google-owned YouTube, which lent credibility to the report that he was jailed.