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Friday, January 28, 2011 

Some Online Egyptians Bypassing Government WebBan With Help From Canadian Company

VANCOUVER -- HootSuite, a Vancouver-based website that allows users to manage their social networking accounts, is reporting a seven-fold spike in new users from Egypt in the past two days after Egyptian authorities shut down Internet access and text messaging late Thursday amid mass political unrest.

HootSuite users were accessing the site by dialing in to a server in North America from their mobile phones.

“When we looked at the (web) traffic this morning the graph just went vertical,” said Dave Olson, marketing director for HootSuite, on Friday.

Olson said the company gained tens of thousands of new Egyptian users in two days after protests erupted against Egypt President Hosni Mubarak resulting in an unprecedented government shut down of Internet access. He estimated in December, before the spike, there were between 12,000 to 15,000 users in Egypt. That means the number has jumped to more than 80,000 this week. HootSuite launched in 2008 and now has about 1.3 million members.

Vancouver Sun

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