Twitter has deleted a network of 418 accounts engaged in coordinated inauthentic activity in support of Ugandan presidential incumbent Museveni and his party, National Resistance Movement (NRM).
The 418 are part of the 3,465 accounts which were sharing state-linked information. The account sets include eight distinct operations attributed to six countries: Mexico, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Russia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Venezuela.
“We removed a network of 418 accounts engaged in coordinated inauthentic activity in support of Ugandan presidential incumbent Museveni and his party, National Resistance Movement (NRM),” Twitter said in a statement.
“Accounts were suspended for various violations of platform manipulation and spam policies and every account and piece of content associated with the operations has been permanently removed from the service,” the statement further read.
In January, Facebook and Instagram also erased various pages and accounts of President Yoweri Museveni’s social media enthusiasts.
According to Facebook’s head of communication for sub-Saharan Africa, Kezia Anim-Addo, the accounts and pages in Uganda engaged in Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour (CIB) to target public debate ahead of the election.
The deleted accounts include those of; Ashburg Katto, Bajjo Events, Full Figure, Ismah Olaxess, Sebunya Shafique, and Lyvine Julius among others.
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.
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.
Last year, several social pages belonging to the People power were hacked and deleted by unknown individuals prompting them to open up new ones.
In December 2020, the government of Uganda through Uganda Communication Commission (UCC), petitioned Google and Facebook demanding the deletion of the National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine’s campaign supporting platforms.
According to the a letter written by the UCC, government claimed that Bobi Wine’s campaign supporting platforms; Map Media, Kyoto, Olujjuliro, Lumbuye, KK TV, JB Muwonge, Trending channel, Uganda yaffe, Uganda Empya, Ghetto TV were used to mobilise riots which resulted into the reckless death of over 50 Ugandans.
Prior in September 2020, UCC directed all persons offering or planning to commence the provision of online data communication and broadcasting services to obtain authorization before offering services to the public however bloggers declined to heed to the directives noting that it infringes on their rights to communication.
The service providers include but not limited to blogs, online televisions, online radios, and online newspapers, audio over IP (AoIP), Internet Protocol TV (IPTV), Video on Demand (VoD), Digital Audio radios and televisions, internet/web radio and internet/web television.