Spoiler alert! Social media shutdown in Uganda will continue says Government.

You might want to hold on to your VPN because the social media shutdown in Uganda might be here for a while. Government through the State Minister for Information, Communication Technology and National Guidance, Peter Ogwang has said Ugandans shouldn’t expect social media apps to be switched on anytime soon in simple terms, the social media shutdown in Uganda continues.

He said that the move is intended to prevent some bad people from organizing riots through these platforms seeing as some opposition members did not accept the outcome of the elections that recently took place.

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Apps like WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have been disrupted by the social media shutdown in Uganda that started last week on Wednesday and now require a VPN connection to work.

Last week in his press statement, the President, HIS Excellency Yoweri Museveni said it is regrettable that things got to this as he understands that some people rely on these platforms to operate their businesses. He further explained that such extreme measures were however necessary.

Social media shutdown in Uganda and loss of OTT.

State minister for ICT said that government anticipated the losses in revenue that come from OTT (Over the Top) tax and is willing to take the risk as national security is a top priority at the moment. By the end of 2020, it was recorded that 7.6 million internet subscribers do not pay OTT according to Daily Monitor. Expect this number to go up even after social media apps are fully restored as some people might get comfortable. It has been observed that the controversial tax has failed to reach its set target in revenue collection of UGX 284 billion and has generated only UGX 49 billion since its introduction in 2018.

Apart from loss in revenue through OTT, there’s an even bigger loss for the affected applications as they stand to lose huge amounts of money for every day the social media shutdown in Uganda continues. Through the NetBlocks Cost of Shutdown Tool, there is an estimated UGX 46 billion lost due to the 7-day disruption of apps like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram and YouTube.

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The impact of the social media disruption.

Also read: Shs32.9 billion lost because of Uganda’s internet shutdown in Uganda in 2021.

The digital economy is badly hit as business owners struggle to work with VPN (Virtual Private Network) apps which have a number of limitations for example users will spend more on data than usual as they consume a lot of it. Other users have also complained of VPNs draining their phone batteries as many find themselves charging their phones more often.

The State Minister for ICT Peter Ogwang asked Ugandans to be calm as plans for restoring the social media apps are in play explaining that government just needs enough time to be sure that all perceived threats are taken care of. He said, for now, Ugandans should just be patient.

It is quite uncertain when things will be back to normal for Uganda’s internet with the government releasing remarks that are not so encouraging and seemingly killing people’s hope. Some good advice would be to just stick to VPNs for now while limiting time spent on social media because of the issues that come with relying on VPN.

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