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Egypt Twitter

January 26, 2011 by staff 

Egypt Twitter, (AFP) – The protest movement in Egypt has mobilized the youth and the middle classes using the Internet and social networks in a challenge for the authorities who saw two Swedish site Twitter and video-streaming Bambuser blocked.

Mobile phones too were unable to obtain a signal from Tuesday to Tahrir Square in the center of the capital, Cairo, which was a rallying point for thousands of demonstrators.

Twitter confirmed Tuesday evening that Egyptian authorities closed his microblogging site. This few hours after reports spread that access had been cut, like the Egyptians took to the streets in what many hope and some fear would be a sequel to the revolution in Tunisia last week.

The hypothesis of the day that the administration would have pulled the plug Mubarak on Twitter stressed the power of the site and other social networks as tools to coordinate both new and disperse an uprising of citizens. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have been widely used in the recent uprising in Iran and Tunisia last year.

But it remains an open question and hotly debated how much of these tools do play a role in the real world social movements, with some critics rightly point out that it becomes tempting foranlysts to give more Credit to new tools and sexier than what they really deserve.

“We can confirm that Twitter has been blocked in Egypt today around 8 am PT. It has an impact on applications Twitter.com @,” the company tweeted handle @ twitterglobalpr.

Earlier in the day, Twitter seems uncertain. “We’re not experts on how Twitter is used in situations in developing 1000 miles from our comfortable seat in SF,” the company tweeted the same inning. In a separate tweet, San Francisco-based Twitter added; “the experts are those who use Twitter on the field and those coordinating with them worldwide.”

One of the leading authorities on censorship in the Middle East, which is based in Cairo, said in a telephone interview that his Facebook account was accessible, but not her Twitter account. His ISP, he said, is TE Data, the largest in the country ISP.

The source, which requested anonymity for fear of reprisals, said some Egyptians using the Internet service provider were Nour access to twitter.

“Twitter is almost everywhere-board-inaccessible in Egypt,” he said. “Given the size of the crowd, we saw in the streets, I would not be surprised at the failure was from the government. There have been calls to censor the Internet here for centuries. ”

ABC News reported from Cairo that Twitter is down and that as many as three people were killed while tens of thousands of demonstrators took to the streets demanding 30-year reign of President Hosni Mubarak ended.

Vodafone, using the handle @ VodafoneEgypt, twittered “no lock on our side!” He speculated that the failure may have been “overloaded”.

Jillian York, which compiles a wide variety of source book websites available worldwide for the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, said the center received about a dozen reports of Twitter being inaccessible to within Egypt.

“We can confirm with certainty whether twitter.com is blocked,” she said in a telephone interview Tuesday morning.

Pro-democracy activists responded Wednesday by the diffusion of technical advice to overcome these barriers to allow mobilization continuing.

Twitter said in a terse “tweet” that has been blocked in Egypt from 1600 GMT on Tuesday and that the interruption was derailed Twitter.com and service-related applications.

Bambuser, a website that provides live streaming video from mobile phones and webcams, and is very popular in Egypt, was blocked from 1200 GMT on Tuesday, company CEO Hans Eriksson told AFP in a e-mail.

Herdict.org, a project of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University in the United States, said it had received “a handful of reports” of users between different providers of Internet services in Egypt that they had been unable to reach Twitter.

“From what we heard from contacts in the field, the Egyptians are still using Twitter via SMS service and third party applications,” a spokesman said.

As with the protests a month in Tunisia, which led to the overthrow of the veteran strong Zine El Abidine Ben Ali at the beginning of the month, Facebook and Twitter have emerged as important tools for the Egyptian movement in organizing events and rallying the opposition to the plan.

“What happened in Egypt was almost entirely organized on Facebook,” political blogger Issander al-Amrani said.

“The young protesters made their grievances, while demonstrating.”

Spearheading the protest, the “6 April Movement” launched a Facebook poll a few days before the demonstrations asking: “Would you January 25 rally?

Nearly 90,000 said they would be causing a few days later at the largest anti-regime protests in 30-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak.

In a decades-old state of emergency, officially sanctioned rallies that are legal in Egypt and the police have systematically cracked down on unauthorized rallies in the past.

Founded in 2008, “April 6 Movement” is a group of pro-democracy activists who work primarily on the Internet. It claims tens of thousands of members, mostly young, well educated looking for a modern and open self-expression.

Internet usage in Egypt has increased rapidly in recent years, with some 23 million out of a population of over 80 million regular or occasional users by the end of 2010, an increase of 45 percent in one year.

Mobile telephony is booming, with 65 million subscribers, up 23 years percent over the year according to official statistics.

Much of the traditional opposition of Egypt, both secular and Islamist, was caught off guard by the success of young web users to put large crowds in the streets of cities across the country.

The Muslim Brotherhood, the main opposition force is the most powerful banned but tolerated by the system within certain limits, did not give explicit support to the protest calls even if she says that some of its members could participate.

But Amr al-Shubaki, ananlyst with the Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, said the scale of the protests of the last two days was likely to mobilize broader segments of the population in the coming days.

“The magnitude of unexpected events is due to several factors, including political obstacles set up by a system in place for 30 years,” said Shubaki.

“The revolution in Tunisia, of course, was a source of inspiration.”

Copyright © 2011 AFP. All rights reserved.

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