The U.S. Embassy in Cairo temporarily deactivated its Twitter account Wednesday and deleted a link to a video of popular U.S. satirist Jon Stewart criticizing Egypt’s decision to summon an Egyptian comedian.
Stewart mocked Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi and defended fellow popular Egyptian comedian Bassem Youssef, who the public prosecution summoned for allegedly insulting Islam and the presidency.
The embassy’s Twitter account was reactivated but without the post after Egyptian authorities objected to the tweet, U.S. officials said, according to The Guardian.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, could not answer any further questions because they were not allowed to publicly address the matter, added the report.
Mursi’s office replied to the embassy’s post, tweeting: "It's inappropriate for a diplomatic mission to engage in such negative political propaganda."
The Freedom and Justice Party – Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood movement to which Mursi belongs – also commented on the U.S. post, tweeting: “Another undiplomatic & unwise move by @USEmbassyCairo, taking sides in an ongoing investigation & disregarding Egyptian law & culture.”
The decision to take down the embassy’s page was a unilateral one by the U.S. envoy in Egypt, a U.S. official – who asked his name not be disclosed – told Foreign Policy.
The Twitter-sphere reacts
Twitter blew up Wednesday following the U.S. embassy’s decision to delete the post.
“Am I crazy or are more and more tweets getting deleted from the @USEmbassyCairo timeline? Only one tweet since March 24, can’t be right,” Max Fisher said.
Others criticized the embassy for caving in to Muslim Brotherhood pressure.
“Message to MB from @USEmbassyCairo deletion fiasco: US will bend when @EgyPresidency complains loudly enough,” David Kenner wrote.
An Egyptian blogger, Arabist, tweeted: “Can’t believe entire @USEmbassyCairo account was deleted. Appeasement!”
Once the embassy’s Twitter account was up and running and again, a little humor ensued with the Arabist’s greeting: “Welcome back @USEmbassyCairo we missed you.”
“Really @USEmbassyCairo, you missed Easter by a few days with this resurrection,” Kenner again tweeted.