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Minister says ‘Egyptian Facebook’ is underway, users already looking for a name

Egypt has said it is looking at creating its own version of Facebook, but the country’s people have already started questioning the motives (AFP)
CAIRO: Egypt has taken concrete steps toward establishing an “Egyptian Facebook” and a hashtag on the subject has already strarted trending on Twitter Egypt.

The country’s telecommunication and information technology minister said Monday that Egypt is working on establishing a social networking platform similar to Facebook.

Minister Yasser El-Qadi said the move was part of a plan to be an active partner in the field of social media internationally, according to Ahram Online.

Though he did not provide further details regarding the project, he said the protection of data and information was important, and that the Egyptian state was keen on safeguarding the personal privacy of its citizens.

He added that Egypt had grown capabilities in protecting information and preserving the privacy of its citizens online.

The minister made the statements during a workshop organized by the Egyptian Justice Ministry to face extremism and ways to combat it.

But Facebook users decided they could not miss the opportunity to poke fun at the announcement, embarking on a Twitter hashtag that read in Arabic: #Suggest_a_name_for_theEgyptianFacebook

The hashtag was widely trending on Twitter in Egypt, as some suggested calling the local version of the global networking site as “Egyptian Face,” “Fake Book” “Facebookii.”

Others commented on their fears that the Egyptian version of the platform would be used by the government to spy on its users.

According to statistics in 2017, Egypt leads the number of Arab Facebook users, with approximately 34.5 million active accounts, representing 23 percent of all Arab Facebook users.