Wired's David Wolman reports receiving the news after violence broke out in Cairo, but it has yet to be confirmed.
Surge Desk has five facts on Maher, whose Facebook activism helped bring protests against Hosni Mubarak to the streets.
1. He leads a prominent online activist group
Maher is a leader of the April 6 Youth Movement, a Facebook group that's become a hub for Egyptian activism. The group's first effort was a nationwide strike in solidarity with workers protesting low wages, and it continued to grow with protests and demonstrations in support of free speech and government reform.
2. He's been arrested before
After the April 6, 2008, strike, which turned into a deadly confrontation between protesters and Egyptian police, Maher was arrested and beaten, then released. State authorities arrested him again in July 2008, that time confining him in Burg el Arab, a jail for political prisoners.
3. Although he's known as an Internet activist, he's trying to bridge the tech gap
Facebook, Twitter and other Internet platforms fueled the April 6 group's growth, but in a 2010 interview Maher talked about the importance of reaching people who don't have access to technology or who choose not to use it:
4. He's a civil engineer IRL
These new modes of communication are known as alternative media, but their impact remains limited to Internet users only. Therefore, we still need to find new ways of reaching people in the street. We have a considerable influence on Egyptian and foreign media as well as the capacity to disseminate information rapidly using the Internet, and through some independent media sources that publish our news continuously. But we need to reach other groups of people who do not use the Internet or Twitter or Facebook, including members of the old generation as well as many young people. We need to interact directly with these individuals in clubs, universities and neighborhoods.
A 2008 profile in Wired revealed that Maher studied civil engineering and had to juggle his day job at a construction firm with the demands of round-the-clock activism.
5. He got shut down by Facebook
According to the same profile, Maher's Facebook account was briefly suspended in 2008, not because the Egyptian authorities were concerned about his activities, but because he was sending so many messages Facebook thought he might be a spammer.
More Surge Desk Coverage of the Egypt Protests:
Anderson Cooper Attacked in Egypt: 5 Facts on the CNN Newsman
Egypt Upheaval Today; Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia Unrest Tomorrow?
Egypt Internet Ban: 5 Ways the Protesters Are Beating the Blackout
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