Last Updated on January 12, 2021
In a presidential address on Tuesday, Uganda President Yoweri Museveni threatened to block Facebook and Twitter’s access to the country if the platforms are found not to be “friendly and equitable” to Ugandan citizens.
Due to admissions from Twitter and Facebook that the platforms have been meddling in the country’s internal elections by banning leaders of the government and pro-government voices, President Museveni took the unprecedented step of banning Facebook and Twitter from the country.
Kenyan news reported that “This comes a couple of days after social media giant Facebook actually banned or shut down accounts of some pro-government voices, and even some voices within the Ministry of ICT as well.”
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“This has raised a big question about, where is the place of freedom of speech, when it comes to these social media players,” the journalist continued. “We know what happened in America with President Trump, as well.”
Tension & anxiety in Uganda ahead of elections on Thursday. Uganda shuts down social media platforms two days to election
Uganda expected to step up security for election in hotspots. Opposition candidate Bobi Wine accuses military of raiding his home #NewsNight pic.twitter.com/SWg5QNH1Rn
— Citizen TV Kenya (@citizentvkenya) January 12, 2021
Addressing the shutdown of big tech in the country, the Government of Uganda Twitter account revealed that President Museveni has warned big tech companies that they may not be allowed to return to the country due to their actions.
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“The President warns that if the social media channels like Facebook and Twitter are not being friendly and equitable to some Ugandans,” the statement explains, “then there is no reason as to why we should have them operate here.”
The President warns that if the social media channels like @Facebook and @Twitter are not being friendly and equitable to some of the Ugandans, then there is no reason as to why we should have them operate here. @OfwonoOpondo #M7Address pic.twitter.com/OOBioV3nGe
— Government of Uganda (@GovUganda) January 12, 2021
This comes as Americans are being banned by Twitter and Facebook in increased numbers, following the Capitol Hill protest on January 6.
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Additionally, it comes National File receives reports that “thousands” of big tech employees are contacting Gab, the free speech social network, in hopes of gaining employment at a pro-First Amendment social media company.
This article was updated to more clearly reflect the actions from big tech giants that led to the Ugandan President banning the platforms.