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Facebook at centre of Egyptian political scandal

Text by Eric Olander

Latest update : 2010-09-08

Prospective Egyptian presidential candidate Mohamed ElBaradei has blamed opponents for hacking his daughter’s Facebook page after images of her drinking alcohol and wearing a bikini sparked outrage.

The former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and likely Egyptian presidential candidate, Mohamed ElBaradei, blamed his government rivals for the recent hacking of his daughter’s Facebook page. A Facebook group with the title ElBaradei’s family secrets - How shameless are they” had reportedly copied or received dozens of pictures from Laila Elbaradei’s wedding and published the information during the holy month of Ramadan. Those images have sparked a scandal in Egypt over the revelation that alcohol was consumed at the wedding during Ramadan, which is strictly prohibited. Additionally, pictures of Laila in a bikini were also criticised as being inappropriate.

There is widespread speculation that the text on her Facebook profile page was later manipulated. Under the heading of politics, the text says “very liberal” and under religion it states “agnostic".  Further references to drug dealers from the popular American television series “The Wire” are also widely believed to be inaccurate.
 
While Laila’s father accuses the government of being responsible for the publication of the pictures and the editing of her page, there is no evidence to support his allegation. Officials in Cairo have denied any involvement. Nonetheless, ElBaradei and his supporters are using the controversy to promote their initiative for political reform in Egypt. "This (campaign against Laila ElBaradei) proves we face a regime that will not refrain from using the dirtiest means to achieve its political ends," ElBaradei's publicity coordinator Abdul Rahman Yusuf told Reuters.
 
The ElBaradei Facebook scandal comes as the government launched a new online security unit reportedly designed to monitor the online presence of political rivals of President Hosni Mubarak and his son, Gamal, who is also a likely presidential candidate himself.

 

Date created : 2010-09-07

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