Egypt Restricts Access to Facebook

By Cindy Waxer January 26, 2011

Harvard University’s Herdict Web monitoring center is reporting that Facebook has been blocked in Egypt as anti-government protests mount.

The Herdict.org, a project of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, lists two reports of the social networking site being inaccessible in Egypt. Protesters have taken to the streets across the country in a display of anti-government rage, partially sparked by the recent revolt in Tunisia. Despite efforts to end the riots with water cannons and tear gas, protesters continue to call for the ousting of long-time president, Hosni Mubarak.

Even Twitter confirmed that its website has also been blocked in Egypt. "We believe that the open exchange of information and views benefits societies and helps governments connect with their people," Twitter said in a message at @twitterglobalPR.

In an e-mail to Reuters, Jillian York, a project coordinator at Harvard's Berkman Centre for Internet & Society that oversees the Herdict service, stated, “I have confirmed with users in Egypt that Facebook is blocked.”

This isn’t the first time Facebook has played a role in Egypt’s political sphere. In April of 2008, a group of young citizens mobilized 80,000 supporters to protest rising food prices. Facebook played a huge part in summoning supporters for the event.

As reported by the Los Angeles Times, “The Egyptian government, which has governed for 25 years under emergency law and doesn't allow more than five people to gather unregistered, hit back hard, jailing young dissidents and torturing Ahmed Maher, a young activist who tried, unsuccessfully, to organize a second demonstration in early May.”

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Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributing Editor

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