Last week I posted some commentary on Facebook being shut down in India because the government is planning to require additional information from the Facebook provider there. I didn’t actually talk so much about the shut down itself as much as I reacted to the overwhelming challenges in that country to making mobile connectivity available to the vast majority of the Indian population. Good luck again, Mark Zuckerberg. Now the Egyptian government is shutting down Facebook access for its citizens just prior to the fifth anniversary of the Arab Spring uprising on January 25th. Another challenge for Facebook in a different kind of economy and cultural system.
The Free Basics Facebook program in Egypt is similar to that being offered in India. More than three million Egyptians have signed up for the service. It offers cell phone users free access to limited services including Facebook’s social network and messaging, news, health and job information. As was similarly expressed by Facebook in India, they also hoped to “resolve the situation soon.”
I remember being told early in my life that nothing is ever free. In this case it seems that this may be especially true when hearing offers of free Internet and free elections!