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Twitter apologises for suspending Egypt activist accounts

October 11, 2019 at 2:35 pm

Twitter logo is displayed on the screen of an Apple Inc. iPhone 5 [Chesnot/Getty Images)

Twitter has apologised for temporarily suspending the accounts of over 100 human rights activists in the wake of protests against the Sisi regime.

On the 20 September Egyptians across several cities responded to the calls of former Egyptian army contractor Mohamed Ali who asked Egyptians to take to the streets after detailing corruption charges against the government and the president’s family.

Some 3,000 activists, journalists and former detainees have been arrested since the protests began, including over 80 women and more than 100 children.

On Wednesday, Ali called on Egyptians to demonstrate peacefully once again, this time on their rooftops, to demand that the general turned president, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, stand down.

Ali’s own account was suspended for several hours after the first set of protests erupted in Egypt.

Twitter also suspended the accounts of activist Gigi Ibrahim, author Ahdaf Soueif, the artist Ganzeer and over 100 others.

READ: Egypt activist Alaa Abdul Fattah beaten in prison

Ganzeer was told his account was suspended because he was “using a trending or popular hashtag with an intent to subvert or manipulate a conversation.”

Twitter’s Middle East and North Africa office is based in Dubai, a key ally of Cairo.

This is not the first time this has happened. In June Twitter apologised for suspending accounts critical of China ahead of the 30th of anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Hundreds of activists including Uyghurs, human rights lawyers and college students were blocked.

Though Egyptian protesters overthrew the government eight years ago using social media, it has increasingly been used to crackdown on dissidents, also by the Egyptian regime itself.

An investigation by the research group Check Point has revealed that the Egyptian government targeted 33 individuals through their mobile phone apps which allowed them to get information on their location and target their files and emails.

Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Signal and Telegram were intermittently unavailable throughout the demonstrations.

Egyptian police and soldiers have been stopping citizens in the street and checking their social media accounts for anti-regime activities.

READ: Egypt spied on key opposition figures using mobile apps