Egypt is following India's lead.
Just over a week since India announced its temporary ban on Facebook's Free Basics, free-of-charge Web Internet.org initiative, Egypt has followed suit.
On Wednesday, officials in Egypt shut down the Web program, halting free Internet access to upwards of three million of the country's residents, as reported by the New York Times.
Although the exact reason for the shuttering of the service is unknown as of press time, the Times reported that the Egyptian government mandated it cease, and Reuters added that Egyptian cellular company Etisalat's two-month permit to carry Free Basics expired on Wednesday, paving the way for the service to shut down, effective immediately.
According to the Times, Free Basics being shut down in Egypt could lead to an uprising of sorts, as the government under the country's President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has already been making concerted efforts to avoid any possible protests on Jan. 25, which marks the fifth anniversary of the Arab Spring upheaval that knocked President Hosni Mubarak out of office — something with which social media played a contributing part.
In response to learning that Egypt, too, has banned Free Basics, Facebook told the Times that it's "disappointed that Free Basics will no longer be available in Egypt."
In response to India temporarily banning Free Basics last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote an op-ed column in the Times of India, explaining his disappointment.
As part of his lengthy column, Zuckerberg wrote: "If we accept that everyone deserves access to the Internet, then we must surely support free basic Internet services. That's why more than 30 countries have recognized Free Basics as a program consistent with net neutrality and good for consumers. Who could possibly be against this?"
Apparently, regulators in India ... and now Egypt, too.