Uganda shut down all social media in the country Tuesday after the country’s longtime leader accused Facebook of taking sides in the upcoming presidential election on Thursday.
President Yoweri Museveni, 76, apologized for the inconvenience caused by the ban, but said Uganda had no choice after Facebook removed several accounts tied to his reelection campaign.
“If you want to take sides against the (ruling party), then that group will not operate in Uganda,” he said in a national address.
“We cannot tolerate this arrogance of anybody coming to decide for us who is good and who is bad.”
Facebook on Monday said it had taken down a network of accounts linked to Uganda’s ministry of information that “used 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 networking giant didn’t immediately respond to the president’s comments on Tuesday but Twitter, which also appeared to be affected ban, blasted the move.
“We strongly condemn internet shutdowns – they are hugely harmful, violate basic human rights and the principles of the #OpenInternet,” it said in a statement.
“Access to information and freedom of expression, including the public conversation on Twitter, is never more important than during democratic processes, particularly elections.”
Many social media users were outraged by Twitter’s comments, noting that the company — which recently permanently suspended President Trump’s account — had muzzled The New York Post during the 2020 race over its reporting on Hunter Biden.