back to top

Facebook's Free Basics Shuts Down In Egypt, Continuing Troubled Run

A bad stretch for the social giant's initiative gets worse.

Posted on

Facebook's Free Basics program, which provides free internet access to a select group of apps and websites, has been shut down in Egypt, according to an Associated Press report.

In a statement provided to the AP, Facebook said it hoped to ""resolve this situation soon."

"We're disappointed that Free Basics will no longer be available in Egypt," the statement said. "More than 1 million people who were previously unconnected had been using the Internet because of these efforts."

It's still unclear why the service was halted in Egypt, but the shutdown marks another setback for the program, which has been the subject of a regulatory battle in India. Detractors there have derided the initiative for favoring some apps and sources of information over others, something they say goes against the principles of Net Neutrality. Free Basics is still live in over 30 countries.

Facebook — and social media in general — played a prominent role in Egypt's Tahrir Square uprising in 2011. The platform was a key organizing tool for demonstrators who eventually overthrew the government. There have since been several attempts to block it.

Alex Kantrowitz is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco. He reports on social and communications.

Contact Alex Kantrowitz at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.