Popular Egyptian television presenters have touted the idea that the government should move to block Twitter as a counter measure against a hashtag deemed insulting to General Abdelfattah el-Sisi.
When Sisi resigned from the army last week and announced his plan to run for president, hashtag “I will elect Sisi” was created on Twitter to support him. Immediately afterwards, counter hashtag “intikhbo al-ars,” which in English means “elect the pimp,” appeared to take the micro blogging site by storm.
The Arabic word for “pimp” is considered in Egypt to be an extremely vulgar word. Its association with the former army strongman, who is widely seen as the imminent president of the Arab world’s most populous nation, has sounded alarm bells among conventional state-aligned news outlets.
“Intikhbo al-ars,” was reportedly shared on Twitter millions of times over the span of just several hours.
“More than 129 million impressions about…[the hashtag]. We can reach 1 billion by this week. Keep up guys,” said one of the site’s users, accompanying his tweet with a screenshot of the hashtag’s analytics on Keyhole, a website that tracks key words and phrases on social media.
Access to Keyhole appeared to be unavailable amid social media reports that it had been blocked by authorities.
Egyptian journalist and CBC TV host Khairy Ramadan described the hashtag as a style of “character assassination” followed by Muslim Brotherhood supporters against Sisi.
“Following Sisi’s resignation as defense minister and the announcement of his election bid, there was a hashtag that said ‘I will elect Sisi,’ and it received the highest tweets,” Ramadan said on his show.
“Suddenly a second hashtag appeared that says: ‘elect plus curse word.’ This hashtag is number one now. Why? Because it is supported by the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood,” Ramadan added…. see more