Facebook Shuts Down Accounts of Top Uganda Officials Ahead of Election

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Facebook has said that they have shut down a slew of accounts belonging to Ugandan officials that have been accused to manipulate public debate ahead of elections. Uganda is scheduled to hold its presidential and parliamentary elections on Thursday this week.

“This month, we removed a network of accounts and pages in Uganda that engaged in CIB (Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour) to target public debate ahead of the election,” Facebook’s head of communication for sub-Saharan Africa, Kezia Anim-Addo gave a statement to AFP.

According to Facebook, “Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior” is described under their Community Standards as “the use of multiple Facebook or Instagram assets, working in concert to engage in inauthentic behaviour where the use of fake accounts is central to the operation.”

Kezia said that 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 the appear more popular than they were.

“Given the impending election in Uganda, we moved quickly to investigate and take down this network,” Amin Addo said.

This move by Facebook did not please the people that it affected. Don Wanyama, Senior Press Secretary to Uganda’s President, Yoweri Museveni was not pleased.

“Big techs like @Twitter & @Facebook are being used by opponents of @NRMOnline to stifle pro-NRM voices in Uganda. They should “unfreeze” accounts they froze yesterday & today. We pray @UCC_Official is watching & can act to ensure a fair digital playfield,” he said on Twitter. “Shame on the foreign forces that think they can aid and plant a puppet leadership on Uganda by disabling online accounts of @NRMOnline supporters. You can take away your platforms, you won’t take away @KagutaMuseveni votes,” he added.