Social media giant Facebook claims it blocked several pro-government Ugandan accounts over Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour (CIB) ahead of January 14 election.
The accounts blocked at the weekend were those believed to be those of supporters and mobilizers of the incumbent President Yoweri Kaguta Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) and against Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine, the singer-turned-politician that enjoys western world media endorsement.
“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 was quoted as telling AFP.
Anim-Addo further alleged that the pro-government bloggers “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 that they were.”
The Museveni administration believes Facebook is taking sides with Bobi Wine, a man Kampala believes works with foreign agents to destabilize the country.
Senior presidential press secretary Don Wanyama said Facebook was backing the ‘puppet’ in Bobi Wine.
“Big techs like Twitter and Facebook are being used by opponents of NRM to stifle pro-NRM voices in Uganda. They should “unfreeze” accounts they froze yesterday and today. We pray UCC is watching and can act to ensure a fair digital playfield. Stop Techcolonisation,” said Wanyama.
Facebook said it had “moved quickly to investigate and take down this network,” something several government officials are hinging on to claim tech giants are overstepping their boundaries.