Uganda Restores Internet, Social Media, Bars Access to Facebook

Diplomats decry Uganda suppression of press freedom

Uganda’s State Minister for ICT and National Guidance, Peter Ogwang, has announced the full restoration of internet and social media services with the exception of Facebook.

Internet and social media were barred on the eve of the country’s general elections on January 12, 2021.

President Yoweri Museveni had at the time accused Facebook of being arrogant and biased after the platform removed accounts linked to his party – the ruling party.

Ogwang, while announcing the full restoration on Wednesday, apologised to the nation for the inconveniences.

And on Wednesday the tech platform again announced it had shut down a new batch of more than 200 accounts linked to the ruling party.

The company alleged that the accounts were seeking to spread misinformation and to manipulate public debate ahead of the highly contested poll.

Facebook said the accounts based in Uganda,targeted domestic audiences and relied on fake and duplicate accounts in order to make posts appear more popular than they actually were.

The head of Facebook’s Global Threat Disruption, David Agranovich, said their investigation found evidence linking fake accounts directly to Uganda’s Ministry of Information and Communications Technology.

Facebook also deleted a further 139 Instagram accounts which mostly shared content in support of President Museveni and his party, the National Resistance Movement.

His closest challenger in the polls was musician turned politician Robert Kyagulanyi also known as Bobi Wine who was four years old when Museveni seized power in 1986 after waging a guerrilla war.

Museveni secured a sixth term in the election but Bobi Wine is challenging the results in court alleging that there was widespread fraud.


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