FILE - Internet and social media giants FILE - Internet and social media giants

Misuse of social media threatens Egypt's security

Mon, Mar. 11, 2019
CAIRO – 11 March 2019: Social media became dangerous, as some instigators use it to disseminate misleading information and spread lies and rumors that consequently cause confusion and chaos.

Researcher Haitham Sharabi told Egypt Today that in the last 10 years some instigators used social media to demolish countries and divide the Arab region, where Facebook and Twitter contributed to the spread of fabricated news, false information and news without sources.

"There are many Arab countries that were influenced by rumors; in Libya, false news affirmed the presence of African mercenaries used by Gaddafi to kill people, although the pictures were for Libyan soldiers from black tribes. Also, the websites published rumors about the use of chemical weapons in Syrian cities,” he added.

Sharabi indicated that the government should spread awareness on facing false news and make available the correct information to halt the spread of rumors and lies.

In the same context, security expert Magdy al-Bassioni said that social media is used in fabricating crises to destroy countries and institutions, adding that terrorist groups exploit those websites.

Thus, Egypt proposed various practical measures and anti-cybercrime laws to curb premeditated fake information.

In March 2018, Egypt’s Public Prosecution announced the launch of a new hotline to gather citizens' complaints against fake news published in traditional media outlets or digital media platforms with the aim of threatening national security.

Meanwhile, prominent figures called for screening social media sites to protect the interests of society.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) previously stated that the cybercrime bill restricts the freedom of expression which is a basic right in any democratic society. They said that the Egyptian authorities have been blocking hundreds of websites on claims that they “support terrorism.”
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