Social media and smartphones briefly gave youthful Arab Spring protesters a technological edge that helped topple ageing dictatorships a decade ago as their revolutionary spirit went viral.
Regimes across North Africa and the Middle East were caught flat-footed as the fervour of the popular uprisings spread at the speed of the internet via Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Unfortunately for the pro-democracy movements, autocratic states have since caught up in the digital arms race, adding cyber surveillance, online censorship and troll armies to their arsenals.
While the so-called Arab Spring offered a brief glimmer of hope for many, it ended with even more repressive regimes in most countries and devastating, ongoing wars in Syria, Libya and Yemen.
Nonetheless, say veterans of