By Norman Isaac Mwambazi
Last week, National Resistance Movement (NRM) blogger Ashburg Kato, Presidential Adviser Catherine Kusasira, and some government officials woke up to the unfortunate realisation that their accounts and pages have been shut down by popular social network, Facebook.
There has been noise from those affected, with President Museveni’s Press Secretary Don Wanyama quick to say that Presidential aspirant Robert Kyagulanyi’s “foreign handlers” influenced Facebook’s actions.
Labour Minister Frank Tumwebaze also jumped in, saying that the tech companies are “abusing our digital eco-system.”
Today, Monday, January 11, 2021, Facebook released a statement in an email sent to news outlet AFP, explaining why it shut down these accounts that were accused of manipulating public debate ahead of the Presidential Elections on Thursday, January 14, 2021.
The tech giant found out that these accounts were linked to the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology that is headed by Judith Nabakooba.
“This month, we removed a network of accounts and pages in Uganda that engaged in Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour (CIB) to target public debate ahead of the election,” Facebook’s head of communication for sub-Saharan Africa, Kezia Anim-Addo.
She added, “They used fake and duplicate accounts to manage pages, comment on other people’s content, impersonate users, and re-share posts in groups to make them appear more popular than they were.
“Given the impending election in Uganda, we moved quickly to investigate and take down this network.”
In a similar move, Facebook, Twitter and a host of other tech companies, permanently suspended outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump’s accounts from their platforms in order to protect their users from his posts that were believed to have incited violence.
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