Social media users in Uganda have today failed to access the Facebook site with just hours left to 2021 presidential and parliamentary elections on January 14th.
However, access to the social media site can only be accessed by users on Virtual Private Network (VPN).
This comes a day after the giant tech company confirmed it had shut down several pro-Government accounts.
According to France24 news, Facebook’s head of communication for sub-Saharan Africa, Kezia Anim-Addo, said; “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.”
Several of the affected accounts defected from People Power, a political pressure group headed by Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu aka Bobi Wine, to the ruling party National Resistance Movement (NRM) led by President Museveni.
Anim-Addo said the network was linked to the government ministry of information and communications technology. “Given the impending election in Uganda, we moved quickly to investigate and take down this network.”
“They 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.”
During the 2016 elections, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp were blocked by the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) saying the shutdown was a “security matter”.
Last week Eagle Online published contents of a letter that was written by government ordering them to shut down internet, mobile money services, calls among others as the country heads to polling day on Thursday.