Governments block social media sites for various reasons and we are seeing reports of such activities from our neighbours Uganda. According to the BBC, Uganda has blocked some social media sites which is the second incident in 3 months.
According to a report by their reporter, apparently Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter have been blocked, which incidentally are the most popular social networks around. However, it was pointed out that mobile money “appears to be working” which was not the case in the last incident.
On Twitter specifically, telecommunications companies, confirmed this, where they revealed that it was a directive issued by the Uganda Communications Commission.
The UCC has issued a directive to shut down all social media platforms immediately until otherwise advised by government. (3/4)
— MTN Uganda (@mtnug) May 11, 2016
Social Media will be temporarily disabled as per UCC directive. All our other services are available. We apologize for any inconveniences.
— Airtel Uganda (@Airtel_Ug) May 11, 2016
There is a certain email that is circulating on Twitter which shed more information about the matter:
We regret to inform you that we have been instructed by our regulator, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to disable all Social Media support with immediate effect until tomorrow 6pm for security reasons. Please do bear with us during this period as we comply with this temporary directive.
— Wa Wambura (@IamOminde) May 11, 2016
This move has happened after the opposition leader, Kizza Besigye was apparently sweared in before President elect, Museveni which was scheduled to be done tomorrow. The temporary social media ban which apparently will be lifted tomorrow lines up with tomorrow’s event. This has led people to urge others to download VPNs so as to access these social media sites.
Checked on your VPN lately?
How's it doing? Be nice to it. You might need it.
— Alan Kasujja (@kasujja) May 11, 2016
So social media has been blocked again ….
back to VPN and Opera mini … oh Uganda
— Aisha Nakato (@AishaThatGal) May 11, 2016
The last time social media was blocked in Uganda was during the general election which led the estimated 6.8 million internet users in the country install VPNs to access them. Some VPN services like Trust Zone claimed that its app was downloaded 300,000 times on the first day and was upto 520,000 downloads in 2 days.