Vodafone forced to send pro-Egypt SMS

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Carriers accused of scripting messages.

Vodafone has revealed that it was forced to send a series of nationalistic SMS messages to Egyptians on Wednesday after authorities enacted emergency powers under the country's Telecoms Act.

Egyptian authorities instructed "the mobile networks of Mobinil, Etisalat and Vodafone to send messages to the people of Egypt," Vodafone said in a press statement.

Nationalistic and somewhat ambiguous messages began arriving on Egyptians' phones, shortly after mobile operators were permitted to resume services.

Vodafone's major problem was that messages were not "clearly attributable to the originator" - an omission that led to accusations on Thursday that Vodafone was behind them.

"These messages are not scripted by any of the mobile network operators and we do not have the ability to respond to the authorities on their content," the carrier said.

A series of the SMS messages were posted to an account on the photo-sharing site Flickr.

"The Armed Forces asks Egypt's honest and loyal men to confront the traitors and criminals and protect our people and honor and our precious Egypt," read one message.

"Youth of Egypt, beware rumors and listen to the sound of reason - Egypt is above all so preserve it," read another.

"The Armed Forces cares for your safety and well being and will not resort to using force against this great nation."

Egyptian authorities had used emergency powers since the beginning of the riots, according to Vodafone. The mobile operator was first ordered to shut its network last Friday.

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