Facebook has reportedly shut down accounts belonging to people affiliated to Uganda’s Ruling Party, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) party. The accounts belonging to at least 50 officials have been shut down just a few days before Uganda goes to the polls.
“This month (January), we shut down a network of accounts and pages in Uganda that were involved in + coordinated inauthentic behavior + aimed at influencing public debate ahead of the election,” Kezia Anim-Addo, Facebook communications manager for Sub-Saharan Africa, told AFP.
“They were using fake or duplicate accounts to manage pages, commenting on other people’s content, posing as users, sharing content in groups to make it appear more popular than it was.”
“Given the impending election in Uganda, we reacted quickly to investigate and bring down this network. We found that this network was linked to the Citizens’ Interaction with Government Group of the Ministry of Information ( …) in Uganda, ” Facebook said.
The events were corroborated by Uganda’s senior presidential press secretary Don Wanyama. He accused the social networking app managers of helping to spread the message calling for the removal of President Yoweri Museveni who is going to the polls seeking an extension of his three and half decade rule.
“Shame on the foreign forces that think they can aid and plant a puppet leadership on Uganda by disabling online accounts of NRM supporters. You won’t take away President Kaguta Museveni,” Wanyama tweeted.
Among the deleted pages are those of presidential adviser Jennifer Nakangubi also known as Full figure, socialite Ismah Olaxess and an events promoter going by the name Bajjo.
Popular Ugandan Blogger Ashburg Kato, alleged that the opposition leader who is also Bobi Wine’s aide had requested Facebook to shut down the accounts .
“Facebook itself deleted our accounts on the request of Bobi Wine’s handlers,” Kato tweeted.
Wine’s allies have however denied the allegations, although Facebook has not commented on the matter.
The move comes a few days after social media moved to censor US President Donald Trump following claims that he supported the attack meted against Capitol Hill that leaving four people dead.