Reports say Egypt Web shutdown is coordinated, extensive
- Web experts, residents of Egypt reporting near total blackout of internet service
- Internet monitors report that Web activity in Egypt plummeted at 5:28 p.m. ET Thursday
- Egypt government denies blocking web amid protests
- Facebook, Twitter had been disrupted before blackout, activists say
(CNN) -- For the rocks and other projectiles that protestors are hurling in the streets of Cairo, Egypt's riot police have shields.
To combat social media, another important weapon for the demonstrators, outside experts and people living in the country say the government has coordinated a blockage of certain communications websites and unplugged internet access entirely to parts of the country.
On Thursday, protesters active on Twitter and Facebook, publicly documenting demonstrations on the streets of Cairo, Alexandria and other cities, went quiet. Around the same time, many websites centralized on servers in Egypt disappeared.
On Friday, that Web shutdown seemed to be holding.
Reports continued to flood Facebook and Twitter that land line service has been shut down in some Egyptian cities, though it's unclear whether that came as a result of a government edict or overloaded networks.
Cellular telephone operators were told by authorities to suspend services in parts of Egypt, according to a statement from Vodafone, a global cell carrier that operates there.
A major halt in connectivity apparently came at 5:28 p.m. ET, when servers in Egypt were taken offline, according to a report by internet monitoring organization BGPmon.
Six minutes later, the Committee to Protect Journalists, which had been following the situation in Egypt through online sources, reported that 10 of its contacts vanished at the same time from instant-messaging systems.
The phenomenon was also observed by Arbor Networks, which reports that internet traffic to and from Egypt dropped "precipitously" within that hour Thursday.Read more...