Facebook has justified their move to shut a litany of accounts belonging to Ugandan officials.
In a statement from their head of communication for sub-Saharan Africa, Kezia Anim-Addo, Facebook claimed that the said accounts were shut down over Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior (CIB).
“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.”
Anim-Addo said the network was linked to the government ministry of information and communications technology.
“Given the impending election in Uganda, we moved quickly to investigate and take down this network.”
Supporters of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) have decried the recent purge on Facebook and Twitter where tens of pro-government accounts were suspended permanently.
The purge that started on Facebook early this week saw accounts of blogger Ashburg Katto, presidential adviser on youth matters, Jennifer Nakanguubi alias Full Figer and several other pro-government Facebook accounts being permanently unpublished.
This would later extend to another social media platform, Twitter, where at least three accounts belonging to government supporters were suspended.
Commenting on the suspensions, presidential press secretary Don Wanyama said that owners of these social media platforms are trying to stifle the voices of pro-NRM supporters and this should be checked.
“Big techs like Twitter and Facebook are being used by opponents of NRM to stifle pro-NRM voices in Uganda. They should ‘unfreeze’ accounts they froze yesterday and today. We pray UCC is watching and can act to ensure a fair digital playfield,” Wanyama said.
Minister for Labour Frank Tumwebaze said that the owners of the platforms are abusing their own communication platforms.
“Connectivity should not be a right to enjoy at the mercy of tech giants. Facebook should unblock selectively targeted Ugandan accounts ASAP,” Tumwebaze said.
Ashburg Katto claimed that his account was suspended by Facebook at the request of the National Unity Platform presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu alias Bobi Wine’s handlers in the United States of America.
Katto asked President Museveni to disable Facebook in Uganda until his account is reinstated.