In the latest edition of the social media ban, Facebook has admitted shutting down accounts of top government officials in Uganda, AFP said in a tweet.
The confirmation comes two days after Uganda’s Daily Monitor, part of Nation Media Group, reported banning of over 50 accounts belonging to pro-government officials part of the ruling National Resistance Movement [NRM] party.
In an email to AFP, Kezia Anim-Addo, the company’s head of communication in Sub-saharan Africa, said, “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.”
The company accused suspended users of using “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.” The banned accounts were linked to the country’s Ministry of ICT.
Some pages have been unpublished permanently, while others have been deleted. Among the affected are a prominent blogger in the country, Ashburg Kato, and a senior official in the ICT ministry.
Uganda is expected to hold its presidential elections this week, on the 14th. The long-running President, Yoweri Museveni, will be facing off with singer-turned politician, Robert Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine, under the National Unity Platform (NUP) party.
The controversial move has drawn rage from the affected users.
“Shame on the foreign forces that think they can aid and plant a puppet leadership on Uganda by disabling online accounts of NRM supporters,” noted Don Wanyama, a senior presidential press secretary(via Daily Monitor).
Anim-Addo says they’ve so far removed over 100 networks that manipulate public debate around the world since 2017.
The latest ban is just among social media companies’ increased activity banning what they consider as a breach of their rules and regulations. Twitter on Friday banned US President Donald Trump’s account for repeated violation of its rules.