CAIRO: Police officers have been instructed to delete any data referring to their job and any pictures in their uniforms from Facebook, according to an Interior Ministry statement sent to police stations Friday.
Policemen, prosecutors and judges should not accept any friend requests from people they do not know, and should “at least” change their privacy settings so only their friends could see their pictures and details, the statement, reported by Youm7, instructed.
However, officers’ profiles and cover pictures should never indicate their job, the statement said.
On Jan. 5, the Ministry of Interior announced it had arrested three administrators of dozens of Facebook pages that post detailed information on police officers and incite attacks against them, as well as videos and pictures of arson on streets, police vehicles and state-owned buildings. It also said it detected groups on Whatsapp exchanging pictures and information of police officers.
Mohamed Omran, 21, was one of those arrested. He allegedly created the Facebook page of Popular Resistance Brigades in Egypt, which no longer exists. The page had claimed responsibility for several incidents of arson with pictures and videos, as viewed by The Cairo Post.
The Ministry of Interior previously announced it monitors social networks to track extremists who incite violence, but activists and social media users criticized the monitoring because it “breaches privacy.”
However, another Facebook page, Giza Popular Resistance, appeared and posted several videos of arson and road-blocking. The page claimed responsibility for a bomb that killed an officer in Giza while defusing it. The page later disappeared, but another page with the same name emerged Jan. 9.
The three pages posted pictures and videos of their acts, as well as pictures and personal information on police officers, threatening that they and their families would be targeted.
Hundreds of policemen have been killed and hundreds of improvised explosive devices have struck public utilities since the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.