January 26, 2011

Facebook Reports Activity in Egypt Shows No Change


Earlier today, TechZone360 reported on a possible Facebook blocking in Egypt by government officials. Reports showed that the supposed blocking was a result of the social networking site being used to promote demonstrations against a corruption.

Now, this Reuters report shows that while Facebook is aware of these reports, the company has not noticed any major traffic changes from the Middle Eastern country.

Reports first surfaced when Egyptians had complained that Facebook, Twitter and other sites were being blocked and their mobile networks disrupted. Egypt’s government has denied that social media websites were disrupted, arguing that it respects freedom of expression. 

"Having looked into it, we are aware of reports of disruption to service but have not seen any major changes in traffic from Egypt," a London spokeswoman for Facebook said in a statement and captured in the Reuters report.

The government in Egypt had issued a ban against protesting President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule. The protesting groups have clashed with police, who in turn fired tear gas at the crowds and dragged demonstrators away from the scene.

Facebook, according to TechCrunch, has been actively used to organize demonstrations in Egypt. One group on the social networking giant’s site, We Are All Khaled Said, actually features up-to-the-minute updates on the protests and photos from the scene. Images of a man brutally tortured and killed by police in Alexandria are included. His death has become a rallying point for the demonstrations, which fall on “Police Day,” a national holiday in Egypt.

In other Facebook news, TechZone360 reported recently that HTC is planning to unveil not one, but two new Facebook-branded mobile phones in February, if City A.M.'s unnamed sources are correct. The rumored phone will be similar to Google’s Nexus range, which is also manufactured by HTC, according to City A.M.

Facebook has been the focus in Germany as well as a situation involving non-members of Facebook receiving unsolicited invitations. Facebook currently has more than 10 million users in Germany and a new Facebook application located under the “Friend Finder” tab enables Facebook to send chain letter like e-mails to anyone (non-members) its company feels could be a potential user.

Germany does not look kindly on this unauthorized solicitation to non-members. The Hamburg Data Protection Authority was receiving multiple complaints, spurring an agreement with Facebook that provides members more control over their e-mail address books. Members now control who receives the messages.

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Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TechZone360 and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Janice McDuffee



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