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)
Updated 13 March 2018
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Minister says ‘Egyptian Facebook’ is underway, users already looking for a name

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.


Fake News Watch: Beware! Lebanon’s water is polluted with … water

Updated 46 min 12 sec ago
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Fake News Watch: Beware! Lebanon’s water is polluted with … water

  • A weekly round-up of bogus reports and phony facts in the mainstream and social media.

1 Fears flow over dihydrogen monoxide — aka “water” 

A deadly pollutant in Lebanon’s spring waters has been detected, according to social media rumors.

But the toxin in question — the scary-sounding “dihydrogen monoxide” — is in fact … water.

The chemical term is technically correct, though rarely used in common conversation, and has often been used in parodies, or to evoke fear in the minds of people.

Such was the case in the Middle East recently, after the South Lebanon Water Establishment recently moved to deny social-media rumors claiming spring waters are polluted with the compound.

“Some are circulating on social media a report attributed to the establishment saying that spring waters are polluted with dihydrogen monoxide — which is another unfamiliar chemical name for water,” the organization was quoted as saying by Lebanese media.

“The establishment denies what is being circulated regarding the alleged pollution or its claimed consequences,” it said in a statement quoted by An-Nahar newspaper. 

It described the rumors as a “silly joke” that will “not pass and will be prosecuted lawfully.”

 

2 France denies suspending visas for Algerians 

The French Embassy in Algeria has denied reports claiming that visa applications for Algerian citizens have been suspended in Algiers.

A statement by the embassy said: “Recently, false and strange information has been circulated, which the consul general of France in Algeria has completely denied.”

The statement, cited by Al-Ahram newspaper, described the reports as “false allegations,” adding that consulates across Algeria have not suspended issuing visas. 

 

3 Truth about Egypt student ‘disappearance’

A deputy head at a branch of Azhar University in Egypt has denied rumors claiming that a female student at the college has disappeared.

Osama Abdel Raouf said in statements quoted by Youm7 newspaper that they have contacted the college student’s family and that they confirmed she did not disappear. 

He added: “All the names and numbers of female students on campus have been reviewed and no absence cases have been registered.”

Abdel Raouf warned students of engaging in circulating such rumors, saying that those who will do so will be “immediately dismissed” from campus.