Jan 10, 2019

#SaveRahaf: How Twitter saved a Saudi woman

Fleeing her Saudi family in Kuwait, Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, sent out a series of tweets pleading for help from an airport hotel room in Bangkok. Tweets carrying the #SaveRahaf hashtag continued to gain momentum and by mid-Sunday afternoon, it was in more than half a million tweets, according to Twitter. The BBC's South East Asia correspondent Jonathan Head, who was part of a network of foreign journalists closely charting Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun's case, said the enormous publicity driven by social media, was a big factor in what happened to her. "In building support and response to crisis situations, Twitter was the perfect social media tool for Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun because it enabled the rapid sharing of information," Phil Robertson added. "The surge of support on Twitter [not only] caught the attention of reporters and editors, it helped engage of the mainstream Thai media. Her tweets also attracted attention from local diplomats as well as the highest levels of UNHCR and governments to the situation."

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