There have been ongoing authoritarian acts of both Facebook and Twitter to continuously close what they term as “state-backed” propaganda accounts considered to be pro- Museveni/NRM government.
Bobi Wine the leader of the National Political Platform and Kiiza Besigye are happy about this move and have praised these social media platforms.
A Facebook statement read,” 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.”
This decision to remove accounts of supporters of the sitting government while leaving the opposition toxic ones is a dangerous erosion of free speech and calls for debate over how to limit the untrammeled power of giant social media companies to dominate and shape public discourse, for good and ill.
With this move, one may wonder how Facebook and Twitter determine a state-backed propaganda account and the one which is not.
If sharing on my Twitter account the achievements done by the government is now considered as spreading propaganda by these tech-giants, then I ask myself what their motive is because they ignore and protect the ones for pro-opposition which are very toxic in nature.
This leads one to think that these opposition parties are a foreign tool and these International social media platforms are just helping them to fulfill their ill agenda.
In recent years, there have been revolutions in the Arab countries that were termed ‘Facebook revolutions’ and ‘Twitter revolutions because the opposition used social media to instigate these revolutions. Evidence can be drawn from the January 2011 Egyptian uprising against former president Hosni Mubarak.
It is the same motive here in Uganda by the opposition but Ugandans have been ignoring their evil schemes.
There are techniques used by organizations and individuals to spread misleading information and falsehoods for geopolitical goals.
They go beyond ‘fake news and include content seeding, targeted data collection and fake accounts that are used to amplify one’s particular view, sow distrust in political institutions and spread confusion.
This has been achieved through the creation of bots on social media which help propagate fake news and inflate the apparent popularity of fake news on social media.
The opposition in Uganda has been trying to use social media to undermine democracy, incite violence and cause chaos in the country. This is all aimed at causing insurrection against a sitting government.
You may wonder how a Facebook account of Fred Lumbuye remains untouched spreading false and toxic news propagated through videos of him teaching how to make improvised explosives to be thrown at state security personnel.
Lumbuye has always even called for genocide in Uganda among other serious toxic contents he shares but Facebook still looks at him as a treasure but sharing photos of Museveni launching new development projects like roads is propaganda according to these agents of evil hiding in sheepskin yet they are wolves.
Dr. Kiiza Besigye who is now a cheerleader of the Lumbuye group said it better in 1998 when he said, “ you cannot malign the army so as to cause it to break up. The national interest must always be above the reporter’s zeal to report.”
Such information protected by Facebook and Twitter creates fear in a country which is the main goal of the opposition and their sponsors.
The opposition should also learn to always put the national interest first in their reporting and desist from being used as mercenaries to cause havoc in their own country.