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Facebook Blocked in Uganda ahead of Elections

Facebook is not accessible in Uganda as the country prepares for Thursday’s Presidential and Parliamentary elections, Chimp Corps report.

Hundreds of users on Tuesday morning said they were unable to access the social media site.

“I have been trying to log into Facebook since morning in vain,” said Tim Akora, 28.

A check by this website at 10:45am showed that Facebook was inaccessible.

The move comes after government warned that social media platforms were being used by foreign powers to meddle in Uganda’s internal election.

Facebook last week disabled accounts of users it said were involved in appropriate activities.

“This month, we removed a network of accounts and pages in Uganda that engaged in CIB (Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour) to target public debate ahead of the election,” Facebook’s head of communication for sub-Saharan Africa, Kezia Anim-Addo, was quoted by AFP as saying.

“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 that they were,” he added.

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The decision negatively impacted Ugandans who were using the platform to share non-political content such as entertainment and travel.

INTERFERENCE

Presidential press spokesperson Don Wanyama slammed Facebook for interfering in the election.

“Shame on the foreign forces that think they can aid and plant a puppet leadership on Uganda by disabling online accounts of (ruling party) NRM supporters,” he said on Twitter.

“You won’t take away President Kaguta Museveni’s votes.”

President Museveni has previously accused western elements of supporting his rival Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine.

At 20 million internet subscriptions, nearly 50% of the Ugandan population is connected to broadband, the latest communications Market Performance Report indicates.

This means nearly one in every two Ugandans have access to internet.

Statistics by Global Stats shows Facebook is the most used platform accounting for 59.58% usage, with Pinterest following in at 24.37%.

Twitter users account for 10.33%, YouTube viewers for 3.93%, Instagram for 1.05%, and LinkedIn with 0.15%.

The Ugandan government is yet to comment on today’s decision.

11 Presidential candidates have since concluded campaigns across the country. They include incumbent Yoweri Museveni, Patrick Amuriat, Robert Kyagulanyi, Nancy Kalembe among others.

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