Social media influencer arrested in Egypt for allegedly ‘inciting immorality’ in online video

Ahram Online , Tuesday 21 Apr 2020

The video was denounced by TV presenter Nashaat Al-Dihy, who alleged that it 'incites debauchery' and called on Egyptian authorities to take action against social media apps like TikTok

Social media influencer Hanen Hossam
Haneen Hossam in a screenshot taken from the video that caused her arrest

Egyptian authorities arrested popular social media influencer Haneen Hossam on Tuesday for posting videos which they described as "inciting debauchery and immorality," a security source said.

Hossam, who has 1.2 million followers on social media app TikTok, posted a video to recruit women to join a group that she created on short video sharing platform Likee with the purpose of promoting the platform in return for payment.

Hossam said that those who wished to participate should be women wearing formal clothes, have a proper lighting setup, and who must dress and behave in a “decent” manner.

Hossam’s video was denounced on Monday by Egyptian TV presenter Nashaat Al-Dihy, who accused Hossam of “inciting debauchery” and called on Egyptian authorities to “preserve the identity of the Egyptian family” by taking action against social media apps like TikTok.

Earlier on Tuesday, Cairo University said that Hossam, who is a second-year archeology student at the university, has been put under investigation for exhibiting "behaviors inconsistent with public morals and the university's values and traditions."

University President Mohamed El-Khesht said he had received several complaints that the student was calling on women to shoot "inappropriate" videos in return for money.

He stressed that the university will seek the maximum penalty against the student, which could reach expulsion.

Hossam went live on TikTok late on Monday, denying all the charges leveled against her and urging people to accurately report what she says in her videos.

In another video, Haneen accused Al-Dihy of taking her words out of context.

Egypt' public prosecutor has ordered an investigation with Hossam on what she had published, a judicial source said.

Established in 2017, Likee is a Singapore-based mobile platform for short-form videos and live broadcast. It has started recently to gain ground on the popular Chinese video application TikTok.

Video sharing platforms like TikTok have been gaining notoriety in Egypt in recent years, with content creators seeing condemnation for making videos where they dress and behave in a way that many in the conservative country deem suggestive or “inappropriate.”

According to Egypt's National Telecom Regulatory Authority (NTRA), the usage of TikTok in Egypt has increased by 194 percent since the coronavirus curfew was implemented in March.

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