LONDON – Egyptian authorities forced Vodafone to broadcast pro-government text messages during the protests that have rocked the country, the U.K.-based mobile company said Thursday.Yahoo
Micro-blogging site Twitter has been buzzing with screen grabs from Vodafone's Egyptian customers showing text messages sent over the course of the demonstrations against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year-old regime.
A text message received Sunday by an Associated Press reporter in Egypt appealed to the country's "honest and loyal men to confront the traitors and criminals and protect our people and honor." Another urged Egyptians to attend a pro-Mubarak rally in Cairo on Wednesday. The first was marked as coming from "Vodafone." The other was signed: "Egypt Lovers."
In a statement, Vodafone Group PLC said that the messages had been drafted by Egyptian authorities and that it had no power to change them.
"Vodafone Group has protested to the authorities that the current situation regarding these messages is unacceptable," the statement said. "We have made clear that all messages should be transparent and clearly attributable to the originator."
The company also said its competitors — including Egypt's Mobinil and the United Arab Emirates' Etisalat — were doing the same. Etisalat, known formally as Emirates Telecommunications Corp., declined comment.