Published by Global Voices Advocacy-
On 1st July, 2010, the Egyptian Ministry of Interior (MOI) has reportedly established a special department to monitor Facebook activities and content in Egypt according to the administrative decision 765.
Based on the Kuwaiti newspaper Aljarida, this new MOI department works according to three shifts/8 hours each. Each shift is composed of 15 individuals: 2 police officers, 10 secretaries of police and 3 engineers. The main task of this group is to monitor Facebook content like groups, pages and chat and to publish reports countering online criticism of current Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak or his son Gamal.
An anonymous security source mentioned to Aljarida that Egyptian security authorities used to censor Facebook among other websites but the MOI paid special attention to Facebook in 2008 after the first call for 6 April Strike that was organized on Facebook.
The anonymous source mentioned to the newspaper that there are groups of paid young Egyptians from the National Democratic Party (NDP) youth, to defense the NDP and the government. According to the same source they have already created 166 Facebook group in support of president's son Gamal Mubarak and 38 other groups supporting his father, resident Hosni Mubarak.
In February 2010, the Egyptian digital advertising company Connect Ads announced to be the Facebook official representative for Middle East and North Africa and I wonder what is the current relation between the MOI department and Connect Ads, because at some point the MOI will need to collect personal information about the Facebook users in Egypt.
It will not be strange if a Facebook user faced a trial or get arrested based on his or her online activity in Egypt, like the trial taking place against Egyptian activists facing several charges, such as the misuse of world wide web.
The numbers of Facebook users in Egypt jumped to 3.8 million, according to a recent report by E-Marketing. Consequently, there is team of 45 members in Egypt who are monitoring the activities of these 3.8 million as well as the monitoring of e-mail.