Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has lashed out at Facebook, accusing them of bias after it closed several accounts belonging to government officials ahead of the January 14, 2021 elections. The tech giant closed down the accounts, alleging that the officials were seeking to manipulate electoral debates ahead of the elections.
“They deleted our people’s accounts under the guise, but we can see the bias, the discrimination standards they used. You cannot say that these were doing wrong, what about the other group (opposition) that have been spreading all forms of wrong information and inciting our people?” Museveni questioned, according to a State House statement.
Museveni issued the statement after meeting a group of youth whose Facebook accounts were shut down for campaigning for him. He accused the opposition of spreading rumours of war in Uganda on social media.
“Facebook will talk but we shall move, they are not God. Recently, I heard people who came here for the first time…they were from the USA. When they reached, they asked me, where is war? I answered, which war? They told me that they had seen on Facebook that there is a war in Uganda. Therefore, for such things, Facebook will fail,” says Museveni.
Facebook said the accounts linked to President Museveni’s campaign were “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 social media platform suspended and permanently banned some of the accounts.
During the election period, social media access was restricted in the country while on some days, there was a complete internet shutdown.
Social media access was later restored in the country, with the exception of Facebook. The government said the reason was that Facebook declined to restore the Government of Uganda and NRM Online accounts.
Museveni said the limitation of Facebook was not a hindrance to the well-being of the country.
Read also: Uganda Restores Internet Access Countrywide
“Ever since Facebook went, have you heard of any shortage of sugar in town? Do you not have clothes? Facebook will talk but we shall move, they are not God,” Mr Museveni said.
“This is the reason why in some countries they are not allowed, do they operate in China? Anyway, what I heard is that God is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient. I never heard that Facebook fits in the same category.” he added.
To access Facebook in Uganda, users have to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)