Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | A day after Facebook confirmed it had shut down several pro-Government accounts, access to the social media site could only be accessed by users on VPN.
Social media Tuesday woke up to complaints by users in Uganda, who were unable to access the Facebook site. It could not be immediately confirmed if the Uganda Communications Communication had taken action in response to Facebook’s accounts ban a day earlier.
A number of Ugandan government officials and ruling party members had their Facebook accounts shut down Monday as the internet giant accused them of manipulating public debate ahead of key elections.
“Given the impending election in Uganda, we moved quickly to investigate and take down this network,” Facebook said in a statement on Monday, adding the decision was linked to the government ministry of information and communications technology.
“They used fake and duplicate accounts to manage pages, comment on other people’s content, impersonate users, re-share posts in groups to make them appear more popular than they were,” it added.
On the same day, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) joined 54 other organizations in a letter to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni calling on him to ensure open and unrestricted internet access during and after the country’s presidential election.
The letter noted that disruptions to internet access would undermine journalists’ ability to report on the election and would infringe on citizens’ right to “key information at a crucial moment in a democracy, damaging their capacity to make informed choices.”
It also expressed concern about Ugandan authorities’ recent requests to Google to shut down YouTube channels affiliated with the country’s political opposition.
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