Google Executive Remains Missing in Egypt

February 3, 2011, 3:38 pm
Google Executive Remains Missing in Egypt
By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER

Google engineers spent last weekend working with Twitter to build a service for people in Egypt without Internet access to post messages to Twitter by leaving a telephone voicemail.

Meanwhile, the unfolding crisis in Egypt was hitting close to home. Wael Ghonim, who leads Google’s marketing for the Middle East and North Africa, is missing in Egypt, according to the company.

“He has not been seen since late Thursday evening in central Cairo,” Google said in a statement. The company also asked anyone with information about Mr. Ghonim to call +44 20 7031 3008 or e-mail <a href ="infoaboutwael@google.com.

Mr. Ghonim is based in Dubai, but on his Twitter profile he also listed Cairo as one of his locations. His Twitter stream tells a harrowing story. After several days of rapid-fire Twitter posts about the protests, he went silent on Twitter Jan. 27.

On Jan. 24, he wrote, “Despite all the warnings I got from my relative and friends, I’ll be there on #Jan25 protests.” The next day, he posted, “We got brutally beaten up by police people,” and later, “Sleeping on the streets of Cairo, trying to feel the pain of millions of my fellow Egyptians.”

On Jan. 26, he posted a message to Malcolm Gladwell, the New Yorker writer who wrote a piece discounting the role of social media in political uprisings. “Hey @Gladwell, #Jan25 proved you wrong. Revolution can be a #Facebook event that is liked, shared & tweeted,” he wrote.

Then, Jan. 27, he published his second-to-last post: “Pray for #Egypt. Very worried as it seems that government is planning a war crime tomorrow against people. We are all ready to die.”

In Silicon Valley, there have been pleas for help from people who know Mr. Ghonim, and CBS News reported that an opposition leader in Egypt named him the group’s spokesman to try to pressure Egyptian authorities to release him, if he is being held.

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Posted on February 8, 2011, in Tecnology and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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