Google’s Dubai-based head of marketing for the Middle East and North Africa is due to be released from Egyptian custody this afternoon.
The company announced on Wednesday that Wael Ghonim was missing. He was last seen in Cairo on Thursday 27 January.
The prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, announced he would be released at 4pm today.
The 30-year-old has been said to be an activist, but friends describe him as “the ultimate geek”.
He is said to have played a significant role in the use of social media – including Twitter and Facebook – to build momentum for the protests that have brought much of Egypt to a standstill.
Both Twitter and Facebook were blocked in Egypt during the early days of the protests; then, on January 28, the country shut down the internet altogether, allowing it back on only last Thursday.
Friends of Mr Ghonim online have urged people not to rest until Mr Ghonim is out of custody and back with his family.
“Just because we get promises Wael Ghonim will be released soon doesn’t mean we should relax, until he is among us we campaign,” Alaa Abd el Fattah tweeted today.