Google Executive Believed Missing After Egypt Protests

There are several reports that a Google executive based in the Middle East is missing after taking part in the protests in Egypt last week.

Wael Ghonim, whose LinkedIn profile says he’s Google’s Head of Marketing for the Middle East and North Africa, tweeted on January 24th that he planned to take part in the January 25th protests “despite all the warnings I got from my relative and friends.” A few days later, he tweeted about being “very worried” and “ready to die” because “government is planning a war crime tomorrow against people.”

Ghonim’s brother has told the Wall Street Journal that Wael hasn’t been heard from since 6:00 pm Friday. A Google spokesperson tells the LA Times, “We care deeply about the safety of our employees, but to protect their privacy, we don’t comment on them individually.”

Postscript: On a semi-related note, and in light of Egypt essentially shutting down the Internet during the protests, Google and Twitter have partnered on a service they’re calling @speak2tweet, which allows people to tweet via a regular phone connection — no Internet required.

Update, February 7: Ghonim has now been released. See our story, Google’s Egypt Executive, Wael Ghonim, Should Be Released From Egyptian Custody Now.

Related Topics: Channel: Industry | Google: Employees


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Search Engine Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • Gids

    Either Wael or someone looking very like him, was taken by plain clothes police – (1 min in)… Seems he was targeted.
    I hope he’s still being held.
    In a country where the leader is in so much trouble as to turn off the internet a person with Wael’s expertise and connections is going to be under close scrutiny.
    Let’s hope the world can keep enough focus on Wael and others in his position… it’s that type of scrutiny that will hopefully allow Wael to return to his family.

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