Egypt has reportedly blocked Facebook and Twitter after the social network was used to rally demonstrators for unprecedented protests in Cairo.
Anti-government activists used Facebook to plan the protests, gathering the support of 90,000 users who agreed to attend the event, and several reports on Tuesday indicated that Twitter had been blocked in order to prevent videos, photos and other details from the protests from being broadcast.
Twitter confirmed Tuesday evening that the site had been blocked in Egypt starting at about 8 a.m. PST.
Facebook has consistently been reported to be blocked since Wednesday morning, according to HerdictWeb, a site by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University that crowdsources reports of inaccessible websites.
Mubarak, 82, fears the power of populism. He allows opponents of his regime a limited political voice in the hope it will defuse anger at his power monopoly.
It's not the first time the government of Hosni Mubarak has considered blocking Facebook, a favorite venue for Egypt's disaffected youth.
In 2008, one group mobilized 80,000 supporters to protest rising food prices. Facebook networking also played a crucial role in broadening support and turnout for a 2009 textile workers' strike and protest.
And shortly after the 2009 murder of Khaled Said, a small businessman in the historic Egyptian city of Alexandria who was dragged from an internet cafe by police and beaten to death in the street, a Facebook page appeared under the name “We Are All Khaled Said.”
The page quickly spiraled into a campaign against police brutality and rights abuses in Egypt — posting often-graphic photo and video, and publishing the names of allegedly abusive cops.
Mubarak, 82, fears the power of populism, according to analysts in Cairo. He allows opponents of his regime a limited political voice in the hope it will defuse anger at his power monopoly.
Meantime, the European Union has called on the Egyptian government to respect people's right to protest: